Early central cardiovagal dysfunction after high fat diet in a murine model

Misty M. Strain, Liliana Espinoza, Stephanie Fedorchak, Erica L. Littlejohn, Mary Ann Andrade, Glenn M. Toney, Carie R. Boychuk

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High fat diet (HFD) promotes cardiovascular disease and blunted cardiac vagal regulation. Temporal onset of loss of cardiac vagal control and its underlying mechanism are presently unclear. We tested our hypothesis that reduced central vagal regulation occurs early after HFD and contributes to poor cardiac regulation using cardiovascular testing paired with pharmacology in mice, molecular biology, and a novel bi-transgenic mouse line. Results show HFD, compared to normal fat diet (NFD), significantly blunted cardio/pulmonary chemoreflex bradycardic responses after 15 days, extending as far as tested (> 30 days). HFD produced resting tachycardia by day 3, reflected significant loss of parasympathetic tone. No differences in bradycardic responses to graded electrical stimulation of the distal cut end of the cervical vagus indicated diet-induced differences in vagal activity were centrally mediated. In nucleus ambiguus (NA), surface expression of δ-subunit containing type A gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors (GABAA(δ)R) increased at day 15 of HFD. Novel mice lacking δ-subunit expression in vagal motor neurons (ChAT-δnull) failed to exhibit blunted reflex bradycardia or resting tachycardia after two weeks of HFD. Thus, reduced parasympathetic output contributes to early HFD-induced HR dysregulation, likely through increased GABAA(δ)Rs. Results underscore need for research on mechanisms of early onset increases in GABAA(δ)R expression and parasympathetic dysfunction after HFD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6550
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

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© 2023, The Author(s).

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