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Folic acid prevents cardiac dysfunction and reduces myocardial fibrosis in a mouse model of high-fat diet-induced obesity

Wei Li, Renqiao Tang, Shengrong Ouyang, Feifei Ma, Zhuo Liu, Jianxin Wu
Nutrition & Metabolism2017
Background Folic acid (FA) is an antioxidant that can reduce reactive oxygen species generation and can blunt cardiac dysfunction during ischemia. We hypothesized that FA supplementation prevents cardiac fibrosis and cardiac dysfunction induced by obesity. Methods Six-week-old C57BL6/J mice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD), normal diet (ND), or an HFD supplemented with folic acid (FAD) for 14 weeks. Cardiac function was measured using a transthoracic echocardiographic exam. Phenotypic analysis included measurements of body and heart weight, blood glucose and tissue homocysteine (Hcy) content, and heart oxidative stress status. Results HFD consumption elevated fasting blood glucose levels and caused obesity and heart enlargement. FA supplementation in HFD-fed mice resulted in reduced fasting blood glucose, heart weight, and heart tissue Hcy content. We also observed a significant cardiac systolic dysfunction when mice were subjected to HFD feeding as indicated by a reduction in the left ventricular ejection fraction and fractional shortening. However, FAD treatment improved cardiac function. FA supplementation protected against cardiac fibrosis induced by HFD. In addition, HFD increased malondialdehyde concentration of the heart tissue and reduced the levels of antioxidant enzyme, glutathione, and catalase. HFD consumption induced myocardial oxidant stress with amelioration by FA treatment. Conclusion FA supplementation significantly lowers blood glucose levels and heart tissue Hcy content and reverses cardiac dysfunction induced by HFD in mice. These functional improvements of the heart may be mediated by the alleviation of oxidative stress and myocardial fibrosis.
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