A team led by Rolf Bodmer, Ph.D. at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute recently unraveled an alternative pathway to lipotoxic cardiomyopathy in fruit flies – a genetic mechanism that occurs independently of a diet high in fat.
Since overactive SREBP seems to be the cause of heart disease in this system, can it be targeted to reduce heart disease? The researchers addressed this question by inhibiting SREBP or its fat-synthesizing target genes through genetic manipulation. In doing so, they were able to restore fat balance and rescue PE-deficient flies from heart malfunction. These beneficial effects were also achieved by reducing SREBP in just the heart, rather than the whole fly. As a result, the flies were still obese, but their hearts functioned normally. These findings further underscore the importance of SREBP in excess fat-related heart diseases, like lipotoxic cardiomyopathy.
"Here we identified a new metabolic pathway that exhibits striking similarities to obesity- and diabetes-related heart failure in humans," explained Dr. Bodmer, professor and director of the development and aging program at Sanford-Burnham and senior author of the study. "This information might now allow us to interfere with the toxic effects of high fat in the heart by directly manipulating these genes in the heart muscle."
Source: Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute