Publications by authors named "John P Headrick"

85 Publications

A YOLO based software for automated detection and analysis of rodent behaviour in the open field arena.

Comput Biol Med 2021 May 15;134:104474. Epub 2021 May 15.

School of Medical Science, Griffith University, Southport, 4217, Australia.

Rodent models are important in mechanistic studies of the physiological and pathophysiological determinants of behaviour. The Open Field Test (OFT) is one of the most commonly utilised tests to assess rodent behaviour in a novel open environment. The key variables assessed in an OFT are general locomotor activity and exploratory behaviours and can be assessed manually or by automated systems. Although several automated systems exist, they are often expensive, difficult to use, or limited in the type of video that can be analysed. Here we describe a machine-learning algorithm - dubbed Cosevare - that uses a trained YOLOv3 DNN to identify and track movement of mice in the open-field arena. We validated Cosevare's capacity to accurately track locomotive and exploratory behaviour in 10 videos, comparing outputs generated by Cosevare with analysis by 5 manual scorers. Behavioural differences between control mice and those with diet-induced obesity (DIO) were also documented. We found the YOLOv3 based tracker to be accurate at identifying and tracking the mice within the open-field arena and in instances with variable backgrounds. Additionally, kinematic and spatial-based analysis demonstrated highly consistent scoring of locomotion, centre square duration (CSD) and entries (CSE) between Cosevare and manual scorers. Automated analysis was also able to distinguish behavioural differences between healthy control and DIO mice. The study found that a YOLOv3 based tracker is able to easily track mouse behaviour in the open field arena and supports machine learning as a potential future alternative for the assessment of animal behaviour in a wide range of species in differing environments and behavioural tests.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compbiomed.2021.104474DOI Listing
May 2021

Maternal diet high in linoleic acid alters offspring fatty acids and cardiovascular function in a rat model.

Br J Nutr 2021 Apr 16:1-14. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Linoleic acid (LA), an essential n-6 fatty acid (FA), is critical for fetal development. We investigated the effects of maternal high LA (HLA) diet on offspring cardiac development and its relationship to circulating FA and cardiovascular function in adolescent offspring, and the ability of the postnatal diet to reverse any adverse effects. Female Wistar Kyoto rats were fed low LA (LLA; 1·44 % energy from LA) or high LA (HLA; 6·21 % energy from LA) diets for 10 weeks before pregnancy and during gestation/lactation. Offspring, weaned at postnatal day 25, were fed LLA or HLA diets and euthanised at postnatal day 40 (n 6-8). Maternal HLA diet decreased circulating total cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol in females and decreased total plasma n-3 FA in males, while maternal and postnatal HLA diets decreased total plasma n-3 FA in females. α-Linolenic acid (ALA) and EPA were decreased by postnatal but not maternal HLA diets in both sexes. Maternal and postnatal HLA diets increased total plasma n-6 and LA, and a maternal HLA diet increased circulating leptin, in both male and female offspring. Maternal HLA decreased slopes of systolic and diastolic pressure-volume relationship (PVR), and increased cardiac Col1a1, Col3a1, Atp2a1 and Notch1 in males. Maternal and postnatal HLA diets left-shifted the diastolic PVR in female offspring. Coronary reactivity was altered in females, with differential effects on flow repayment after occlusion. Thus, maternal HLA diets impact lipids, FA and cardiac function in offspring, with postnatal diet modifying FA and cardiac function in the female offspring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007114521001276DOI Listing
April 2021

Effects of voluntary exercise duration on myocardial ischaemic tolerance, kinase signaling and gene expression.

Life Sci 2021 Jun 27;274:119253. Epub 2021 Feb 27.

Griffith University, School of Medical Science, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. Electronic address:

Aim: Exercise is cardioprotective, though optimal interventions are unclear. We assessed duration dependent effects of exercise on myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (I-R) injury, kinase signaling and gene expression.

Methods: Responses to brief (2 day; 2EX), intermediate (7 and 14 day; 7EX and 14EX) and extended (28 day; 28EX) voluntary wheel running (VWR) were studied in male C57Bl/6 mice. Cardiac function, I-R tolerance and survival kinase signaling were assessed in perfused hearts.

Key Findings: Mice progressively increased running distances and intensity, from 2.4 ± 0.2 km/day (0.55 ± 0.04 m/s) at 2-days to 10.6 ± 0.4 km/day (0.72 ± 0.06 m/s) after 28-days. Myocardial mass and contractility were modified at 14-28 days VWR. Cardioprotection was not 'dose-dependent', with I-R tolerance enhanced within 7 days and not further improved with greater VWR duration, volume or intensity. Protection was associated with AKT, ERK1/2 and GSK3β phosphorylation, with phospho-AMPK selectively enhanced with brief VWR. Gene expression was duration-dependent: 7 day VWR up-regulated glycolytic (Pfkm) and down-regulated maladaptive remodeling (Mmp2) genes; 28 day VWR up-regulated caveolar (Cav3), mitochondrial biogenesis (Ppargc1a, Sirt3) and titin (Ttn) genes. Interestingly, I-R tolerance in 2EX/2SED groups improved vs. groups subjected to longer sedentariness, suggesting transient protection on transition to housing with running wheels.

Significance: Cardioprotection is induced with as little as 7 days VWR, yet not enhanced with further or faster running. This protection is linked to survival kinase phospho-regulation (particularly AKT and ERK1/2), with glycolytic, mitochondrial, caveolar and myofibrillar gene changes potentially contributing. Intriguingly, environmental enrichment may also protect via similar kinase regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2021.119253DOI Listing
June 2021

Morphine induces physiological, structural, and molecular benefits in the diabetic myocardium.

FASEB J 2021 Mar;35(3):e21407

VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA, USA.

The obesity epidemic has increased type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM) across developed countries. Cardiac T2DM risks include ischemic heart disease, heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, intolerance to ischemia-reperfusion (I-R) injury, and refractoriness to cardioprotection. While opioids are cardioprotective, T2DM causes opioid receptor signaling dysfunction. We tested the hypothesis that sustained opioid receptor stimulus may overcome diabetes mellitus-induced cardiac dysfunction via membrane/mitochondrial-dependent protection. In a murine T2DM model, we investigated effects of morphine on cardiac function, I-R tolerance, ultrastructure, subcellular cholesterol expression, mitochondrial protein abundance, and mitochondrial function. T2DM induced 25% weight gain, hyperglycemia, glucose intolerance, cardiac hypertrophy, moderate cardiac depression, exaggerated postischemic myocardial dysfunction, abnormalities in mitochondrial respiration, ultrastructure and Ca -induced swelling, and cell death were all evident. Morphine administration for 5 days: (1) improved glucose homeostasis; (2) reversed cardiac depression; (3) enhanced I-R tolerance; (4) restored mitochondrial ultrastructure; (5) improved mitochondrial function; (6) upregulated Stat3 protein; and (7) preserved membrane cholesterol homeostasis. These data show that morphine treatment restores contractile function, ischemic tolerance, mitochondrial structure and function, and membrane dynamics in type II diabetic hearts. These findings suggest potential translational value for short-term, but high-dose morphine administration in diabetic patients undergoing or recovering from acute ischemic cardiovascular events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.201903233RDOI Listing
March 2021

Dietary α-Linolenic Acid Counters Cardioprotective Dysfunction in Diabetic Mice: Unconventional PUFA Protection.

Nutrients 2020 Sep 2;12(9). Epub 2020 Sep 2.

School of Medical Science, Griffith University Gold Coast, Southport, QLD 4217, Australia.

Whether dietary omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) confers cardiac benefit in cardiometabolic disorders is unclear. We test whether dietary -linolenic acid (ALA) enhances myocardial resistance to ischemia-reperfusion (I-R) and responses to ischemic preconditioning (IPC) in type 2 diabetes (T2D); and involvement of conventional PUFA-dependent mechanisms (caveolins/cavins, kinase signaling, mitochondrial function, and inflammation). Eight-week male C57Bl/6 mice received streptozotocin (75 mg/kg) and 21 weeks high-fat/high-carbohydrate feeding. Half received ALA over six weeks. Responses to I-R/IPC were assessed in perfused hearts. Localization and expression of caveolins/cavins, protein kinase B (AKT), and glycogen synthase kinase-3 β (GSK3β); mitochondrial function; and inflammatory mediators were assessed. ALA reduced circulating leptin, without affecting body weight, glycemic dysfunction, or cholesterol. While I-R tolerance was unaltered, paradoxical injury with IPC was reversed to cardioprotection with ALA. However, post-ischemic apoptosis (nucleosome content) appeared unchanged. Benefit was not associated with shifts in localization or expression of caveolins/cavins, p-AKT, p-GSK3β, or mitochondrial function. Despite mixed inflammatory mediator changes, tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a) was markedly reduced. Data collectively reveal a novel impact of ALA on cardioprotective dysfunction in T2D mice, unrelated to caveolins/cavins, mitochondrial, or stress kinase modulation. Although evidence suggests inflammatory involvement, the basis of this "un-conventional" protection remains to be identified.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu12092679DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7551050PMC
September 2020

Synergistic effects of low-level stress and a Western diet on metabolic homeostasis, mood, and myocardial ischemic tolerance.

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2020 09 5;319(3):R347-R357. Epub 2020 Aug 5.

School of Medical Science, Griffith University, Southport, Queensland, Australia.

How low-level psychological stress and overnutrition interact in influencing cardiometabolic disease is unclear. Mechanistic overlaps suggest potential synergies; however, findings are contradictory. We test whether low-level stress and Western diet (WD) feeding synergistically influence homeostasis, mood, and myocardial ischemic tolerance. Male C57BL6/J mice were fed a control diet or WD (32%/57%/11% calories from fat/carbohydrates/protein) for 12 wk, with subgroups restrained for 30 min/day over the final 3 wk. Metabolism, behavior, tolerance of perfused hearts to ischemia-reperfusion (I/R), and cardiac "death proteins" were assessed. The WD resulted in insignificant trends toward increased body weight (+5%), glucose (+40%), insulin (+40%), triglycerides (+15%), and cholesterol (+20%) and reduced leptin (-20%) while significantly reducing insulin sensitivity [100% rise in homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), < 0.05]. Restraint did not independently influence metabolism while increasing HOMA-IR a further 50% (and resulting in significant elevations in insulin and glucose to 60-90% above control) in WD mice ( < 0.05), despite blunting weight gain in control and WD mice. Anxiogenesis with restraint or WD was nonadditive, whereas anhedonia (reduced sucrose consumption) only arose with their combination. Neuroinflammation markers (hippocampal TNF-α, Il-1b) were unchanged. Myocardial I/R tolerance was unaltered with stress or WD alone, whereas the combination worsened dysfunction and oncosis [lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) efflux]. Apoptosis (nucleosome accumulation) and death protein expression (BAK, BAX, BCL-2, RIP-1, TNF-α, cleaved caspase-3, and PARP) were unchanged. We conclude that mild, anxiogenic yet cardio-metabolically "benign" stress interacts synergistically with a WD to disrupt homeostasis, promote anhedonia (independently of neuroinflammation), and impair myocardial ischemic tolerance (independently of apoptosis and death protein levels).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpregu.00322.2019DOI Listing
September 2020

Trimethylamine -oxide: heart of the microbiota-CVD nexus?

Nutr Res Rev 2021 Jun 28;34(1):125-146. Epub 2020 Jul 28.

School of Medical Science, Griffith University, Southport, QLD, Australia.

We critically review potential involvement of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) as a link between diet, the gut microbiota and CVD. Generated primarily from dietary choline and carnitine by gut bacteria and hepatic flavin-containing mono-oxygenase (FMO) activity, TMAO could promote cardiometabolic disease when chronically elevated. However, control of circulating TMAO is poorly understood, and diet, age, body mass, sex hormones, renal clearance, FMO3 expression and genetic background may explain as little as 25 % of TMAO variance. The basis of elevations with obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis or CHD is similarly ill-defined, although gut microbiota profiles/remodelling appear critical. Elevated TMAO could promote CVD via inflammation, oxidative stress, scavenger receptor up-regulation, reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) inhibition, and cardiovascular dysfunction. However, concentrations influencing inflammation, scavenger receptors and RCT (≥100 µm) are only achieved in advanced heart failure or chronic kidney disease (CKD), and greatly exceed pathogenicity of <1-5 µm levels implied in some TMAO-CVD associations. There is also evidence that CVD risk is insensitive to TMAO variance beyond these levels in omnivores and vegetarians, and that major TMAO sources are cardioprotective. Assessing available evidence suggests that modest elevations in TMAO (≤10 µm) are a non-pathogenic consequence of diverse risk factors (ageing, obesity, dyslipidaemia, insulin resistance/diabetes, renal dysfunction), indirectly reflecting CVD risk without participating mechanistically. Nonetheless, TMAO may surpass a pathogenic threshold as a consequence of CVD/CKD, secondarily promoting disease progression. TMAO might thus reflect early CVD risk while providing a prognostic biomarker or secondary target in established disease, although mechanistic contributions to CVD await confirmation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954422420000177DOI Listing
June 2021

Cardiomyoblast caveolin expression: Effects of simulated diabetes, α-linolenic acid and cell signaling pathways.

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 2020 Apr 29. Epub 2020 Apr 29.

School of Medical Science, Griffith University Gold Coast, Southport Q 4217, Australia.

Caveolins regulate myocardial substrate handling, survival signaling and stress-resistance, however control of expression is incompletely defined. We test how metabolic features of type 2 diabetes (T2D), and modulation of cell signaling, influence caveolins in H9c2 cardiomyoblasts. Cells were exposed to glucose (25 vs. 5 mM), insulin (100 nM) or palmitate (0.1 mM), individually or combined, and effects of adenylate cyclase (AC) activation (50 μM forskolin), focal adhesion kinase (FAK) or protein kinase C b (PKCβ) inhibition (1 μM FAK Inhibitor 14 or CGP-53353, respectively), or the polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) α-linolenic acid (ALA; 10 μM) were tested. Simulated T2D (elevated glucose+insulin+palmitate) depressed caveolin-1 and -3 without modifying caveolin-2. Caveolin-3 repression was primarily palmitate dependent, whereas high glucose (HG) and insulin independently increased caveolin-3 (yet reduced expression when combined). Differential control was evident: baseline caveolin-3 was suppressed by FAK/PKCβ and insensitive to AC activities, with baseline caveolin-1 and -2 suppressed by AC and insensitive to FAK/PKCβ. Forskolin and ALA selectively preserved caveolin-3 in T2D cells, whereas PKCb and FAK inhibition increased caveolin-3 under all conditions. Despite preservation of caveolin-3, ALA did not modify nucleosome content (apoptosis marker) or transcription of pro-inflammatory mediators in T2D cells. In summary: caveolin-1 and -3 are strongly repressed with simulated T2D, with caveolin-3 particularly sensitive to palmitate; intrinsic PKCb and FAK activities repress caveolin-3 in healthy and stressed cells; ALA, AC activation and PKCβ inhibition preserve caveolin-3 under T2D conditions; and caveolin-3 changes with T2D and ALA appear unrelated to inflammatory signaling and extent of apoptosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpcell.00499.2019DOI Listing
April 2020

The effect of high maternal linoleic acid on endocannabinoid signalling in rodent hearts.

J Dev Orig Health Dis 2020 12 9;11(6):617-622. Epub 2019 Dec 9.

Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS), modulated by metabolites of linoleic acid (LA), is important in regulating cardiovascular function. In pregnancy, LA is vital for foetal development. We investigated the effects of elevated LA in H9c2 cardiomyoblasts in vitro and of a high linoleic acid (HLA, 6.21%) or low linoleic acid (LLA, 1.44%) diet during pregnancy in maternal and offspring hearts. H9c2 cell viability was reduced following LA exposure at concentrations between 300 and 1000 µM. HLA diet decreased cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) mRNA expression in foetal hearts from both sexes. However, HLA diet increased CB2 expression in maternal hearts. The mRNA expression of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) in foetal hearts was higher in females than in males irrespective of diet and N-acyl phosphatidylethanolamine-specific phospholipase D (NAPE-PLD) mRNA expression showed an interaction between diet and sex. Data indicate that a high LA diet alters cell viability and CB2 expression, potentially influencing cardiac function during pregnancy and development of the offspring's heart.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S2040174419000813DOI Listing
December 2020

Complex Effects of Putative DRP-1 Inhibitors on Stress Responses in Mouse Heart and Rat Cardiomyoblasts.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2020 01 8;372(1):95-106. Epub 2019 Nov 8.

School of Medical Science, Griffith University, Southport, Australia (L.W., J.V., E.D.T., J.N.P., J.P.H.) and Critical Care Research Group, The Prince Charles Hospital and The University of Queensland, Chermside, Australia (L.E.S.H.)

Dynamin-related protein-1 (DRP-1)-dependent mitochondrial fission may influence cardiac tolerance to ischemic or oxidative stress, presenting a potential "cardioprotective" target. Effects of dynamin inhibitors [mitochondrial division inhibitor 1 (MDIVI-1) and dynasore] on injury, mitochondrial function, and signaling proteins were assessed in distinct models: ischemia-reperfusion (I-R) in mouse hearts and oxidative stress in rat H9c2 cardiomyoblasts. Hearts exhibited substantial cell death [approx. 40 IU lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) efflux] and dysfunction (approx. 40 mmHg diastolic pressure, approx. 40% contractile recovery) following 25 minutes' ischemia. Pretreatment with 1 M MDIVI-1 reduced dysfunction (30 mmHg diastolic pressure, approx. 55% recovery) and delayed without reducing overall cell death, whereas 5 M MDIVI-1 reduced overall death at the same time paradoxically exaggerating dysfunction. Postischemic expression of mitochondrial DRP-1 and phospho-activation of ERK1/2 were reduced by MDIVI-1. Conversely, 1 M dynasore worsened cell death and reduced nonmitochondrial DRP-1. Postischemic respiratory fluxes were unaltered by MDIVI-1, although a 50% fall in complex-I flux control ratio was reversed. In H9c2 myoblasts stressed with 400 M HO, treatment with 50 M MDIVI-1 preserved metabolic (MTT assay) and mitochondrial (basal respiration) function without influencing survival. This was associated with differential signaling responses, including reduced early versus increased late phospho-activation of ERK1/2, increased phospho-activation of protein kinase B (AKT), and differential changes in determinants of autophagy [reduced microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3b (LC3B-II/I) vs. increased Parkinson juvenile disease protein 2 (Parkin)] and apoptosis [reduced poly-(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage vs. increased BCL2-associated X (BAX)/B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2)]. These data show MDIVI-1 (not dynasore) confers some benefit during I-R/oxidative stress. However, despite mitochondrial and metabolic preservation, MDIVI-1 exerts mixed effects on cell death versus dysfunction, potentially reflecting differential changes in survival kinase, autophagy, and apoptosis pathways. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Inhibition of mitochondrial fission is a novel approach to still elusive cardioprotection. Assessing effects of fission inhibitors on responses to ischemic or oxidative stress in hearts and cardiomyoblasts reveals mitochondrial division inhibitor 1 (MDIVI-1) and dynasore induce complex effects and limited cardioprotection. This includes differential impacts on death and dysfunction, survival kinases, and determinants of autophagy and apoptosis. Although highlighting the interconnectedness of fission and these key processes, results suggest MDIVI-1 and dynasore may be of limited value in the quest for effective cardioprotection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.119.258897DOI Listing
January 2020

Chronic type 2 but not type 1 diabetes impairs myocardial ischaemic tolerance and preconditioning in C57Bl/6 mice.

Exp Physiol 2019 12 22;104(12):1868-1880. Epub 2019 Oct 22.

School of Medical Science, Griffith University Gold Coast, Southport, Queensland, 4217, Australia.

New Findings: • What is the central question of this study? What is the impact of chronic adult-onset diabetes on cardiac ischaemic outcomes and preconditioning? • What is the main finding and its importance? Chronic adult-onset type 2 but not type 1 diabetes significantly impairs myocardial ischaemic tolerance and ischaemic preconditioning. Preconditioning may be detrimental in type 2 diabetes, exaggerating nitrosative stress and apoptotic protein expression.

Abstract: Effects of diabetes on myocardial responses to ischaemia-reperfusion (I-R) and cardioprotective stimuli remain contentious, potentially reflecting influences of disease duration and time of onset. Chronic adult-onset type 1 diabetes (T1D) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) were modelled non-genetically in male C57Bl/6 mice via 5 × 50 mg kg daily streptozotocin (STZ) injections + 12 weeks' standard chow or 1 × 75 mg kg STZ injection + 12 weeks' obesogenic diet (32% calories as fat, 57% carbohydrate, 11% protein), respectively. Systemic outcomes were assessed and myocardial responses to I-R ± ischaemic preconditioning (IPC; 3 × 5 min I-R) determined in Langendorff perfused hearts. Uncontrolled T1D was characterised by pronounced hyperglycaemia (25 mm fasting glucose), glucose intolerance and ∼10% body weight loss, whereas T2D mice exhibited moderate hyperglycaemia (15 mm), hyperinsulinaemia, glucose intolerance and 17% weight gain. Circulating ghrelin, resistin and noradrenaline were unchanged with T1D, while leptin increased and noradrenaline declined in T2D mice. Ischaemic tolerance and IPC were preserved in T1D hearts. In contrast, T2D worsened post-ischaemic function (∼40% greater diastolic and contractile dysfunction) and cell death (100% higher troponin efflux), and abolished IPC protection. Whereas IPC reduced post-ischaemic nitrotyrosine and pro-apoptotic Bak and Bax levels in non-diabetic hearts, these effects were reduced in T1D and IPC augmented Bax and nitrosylation in T2D hearts. The data demonstrate chronic T1D does not inhibit myocardial I-R tolerance or IPC, whereas metabolic and endocrine disruption in T2D is associated with ischaemic intolerance and inhibition of IPC. Indeed, normally protective IPC may exaggerate damage mechanisms in T2D hearts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/EP088024DOI Listing
December 2019

The brain-adipocyte-gut network: Linking obesity and depression subtypes.

Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 2018 12;18(6):1121-1144

School of Medical Science, Griffith University Gold Coast, Southport, Australia.

Major depressive disorder (MDD) and obesity are dominant and inter-related health burdens. Obesity is a risk factor for MDD, and there is evidence MDD increases risk of obesity. However, description of a bidirectional relationship between obesity and MDD is misleading, as closer examination reveals distinct unidirectional relationships in MDD subtypes. MDD is frequently associated with weight loss, although obesity promotes MDD. In contrast, MDD with atypical features (MDD-AF) is characterised by subsequent weight gain and obesity. The bases of these distinct associations remain to be detailed, with conflicting findings clouding interpretation. These associations can be viewed within a systems biology framework-the psycho-immune neuroendocrine (PINE) network shared between MDD and metabolic disorders. Shared PINE subsystem perturbations may underlie increased MDD in overweight and obese people (obesity-associated depression), while obesity in MDD-AF (depression-associated obesity) involves more complex interactions between behavioural and biomolecular changes. In the former, the chronic PINE dysfunction triggering MDD is augmented by obesity-dependent dysregulation in shared networks, including inflammatory, leptin-ghrelin, neuroendocrine, and gut microbiome systems, influenced by chronic image-associated psychological stress (particularly in younger or female patients). In MDD-AF, behavioural dysregulation, including hypersensitivity to interpersonal rejection, fundamentally underpins energy imbalance (involving hyperphagia, lethargy, hypersomnia), with evolving obesity exaggerating these drivers via positive feedback (and potentially augmenting PINE disruption). In both settings, sex and age are important determinants of outcome, associated with differences in emotional versus cognitive dysregulation. A systems biology approach is recommended for further research into the pathophysiological networks underlying MDD and linking depression and obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13415-018-0626-0DOI Listing
December 2018

Bilirubin acts as a multipotent guardian of cardiovascular integrity: more than just a radical idea.

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2018 09 30;315(3):H429-H447. Epub 2018 Mar 30.

School of Medical Science and Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University , Gold Coast, Queensland , Australia.

Bilirubin, a potentially toxic catabolite of heme and indicator of hepatobiliary insufficiency, exhibits potent cardiac and vascular protective properties. Individuals with Gilbert's syndrome (GS) may experience hyperbilirubinemia in response to stressors including reduced hepatic bilirubin excretion/increased red blood cell breakdown, with individuals usually informed by their clinician that their condition is of little consequence. However, GS appears to protect from all-cause mortality, with progressively elevated total bilirubin associated with protection from ischemic heart and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. Bilirubin may protect against these diseases and associated mortality by reducing circulating cholesterol, oxidative lipid/protein modifications, and blood pressure. In addition, bilirubin inhibits platelet activation and protects the heart from ischemia-reperfusion injury. These effects attenuate multiple stages of the atherosclerotic process in addition to protecting the heart during resultant ischemic stress, likely underpinning the profound reduction in cardiovascular mortality in hyperbilirubinemic GS. This review outlines our current knowledge of and uses for bilirubin in clinical medicine and summarizes recent progress in revealing the physiological importance of this poorly understood molecule. We believe that this review will be of significant interest to clinicians, medical researchers, and individuals who have GS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00417.2017DOI Listing
September 2018

Pravastatin improves risk factors but not ischaemic tolerance in obese rats.

Eur J Pharmacol 2018 May 1;826:148-157. Epub 2018 Mar 1.

School of Medical Science, Griffith University Gold Coast, Southport, QLD 4222, Australia. Electronic address:

Statins are effective in management of dyslipidaemia, and a cornerstone of CVD prevention strategies. However, the impacts of their pleiotropic effects on other cardiovascular risk factors and myocardial responses to infarction are not well characterised. We hypothesised that pravastatin treatment in obesity improves lipid profiles, insulin-resistance and myocardial resistance to ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. Wistar rats were fed a control (C) chow or high carbohydrate and fat diet (HCFD) for 16 weeks with vehicle or pravastatin (prava 7.5 mg/kg/day) treatment for 8 weeks. At 16 weeks HOMAs were performed, blood samples collected and hearts excised for Langendorff perfusions/biochemical analyses. Anti-oxidant activity and proteins regulating mitochondrial fission/fusion and apoptosis were assessed. The HCFD increased body weight (736±15 vs. 655±12 g for C; P<0.001), serum triglycerides (2.91±0.52 vs. 1.64±0.26 mmol/L for C; P<0.001) and insulin-resistance (HOMA- 6.9±0.8 vs. 4.2±0.5 for C; P<0.05) while prava prevented diet induced changes and paradoxically increased lipid peroxidation. The HCFD increased infarct size (34.1±3.1% vs. 18.8±3.0% of AAR for C; P<0.05), which was unchanged by prava in C and HCFD animals. The HCFD decreased cardiac TxR activity and mitochondrial MFN-1 and increased mitochondrial DRP-1 (reducing MFN-1:DRP-1 ratio) and Bax expression, with the latter changes prevented by prava. While unaltered by diet, cytosolic levels of Bax and caspase-3 were reduced by prava in C and HCFD hearts (without changes in cleaved caspase-3). We conclude that obesity, hyper-triglyceridemia and impaired glycemic control in HCFD rats are countered by prava. Despite improved risk factors, prava did not reduce myocardial infarct size, potentially reflecting its complex pleiotropic impacts on cardiac GPX activity and MFN-1, DRP-1, caspase-3 and Bcl-2 proteins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2018.02.050DOI Listing
May 2018

Peripheral modulation of the endocannabinoid system in metabolic disease.

Drug Discov Today 2018 03 10;23(3):592-604. Epub 2018 Jan 10.

Centre for Chronic Disease, College of Health and Biomedicine, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; School of Science, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD, Australia. Electronic address:

Dysfunction of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been identified in metabolic disease. Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB) is abundantly expressed in the brain but also expressed in the periphery. Cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB) is more abundant in the periphery, including the immune cells. In obesity, global antagonism of overexpressed CB reduces bodyweight but leads to centrally mediated adverse psychological outcomes. Emerging research in isolated cultured cells or tissues has demonstrated that targeting the endocannabinoid system in the periphery alleviates the pathologies associated with metabolic disease. Further, peripheral specific cannabinoid ligands can reverse aspects of the metabolic phenotype. This Keynote review will focus on current research on the functionality of peripheral modulation of the ECS for the treatment of obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drudis.2018.01.029DOI Listing
March 2018

Myocyte membrane and microdomain modifications in diabetes: determinants of ischemic tolerance and cardioprotection.

Cardiovasc Diabetol 2017 12 4;16(1):155. Epub 2017 Dec 4.

Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Southport, QLD, Australia.

Cardiovascular disease, predominantly ischemic heart disease (IHD), is the leading cause of death in diabetes mellitus (DM). In addition to eliciting cardiomyopathy, DM induces a 'wicked triumvirate': (i) increasing the risk and incidence of IHD and myocardial ischemia; (ii) decreasing myocardial tolerance to ischemia-reperfusion (I-R) injury; and (iii) inhibiting or eliminating responses to cardioprotective stimuli. Changes in ischemic tolerance and cardioprotective signaling may contribute to substantially higher mortality and morbidity following ischemic insult in DM patients. Among the diverse mechanisms implicated in diabetic impairment of ischemic tolerance and cardioprotection, changes in sarcolemmal makeup may play an overarching role and are considered in detail in the current review. Observations predominantly in animal models reveal DM-dependent changes in membrane lipid composition (cholesterol and triglyceride accumulation, fatty acid saturation vs. reduced desaturation, phospholipid remodeling) that contribute to modulation of caveolar domains, gap junctions and T-tubules. These modifications influence sarcolemmal biophysical properties, receptor and phospholipid signaling, ion channel and transporter functions, contributing to contractile and electrophysiological dysfunction, cardiomyopathy, ischemic intolerance and suppression of protective signaling. A better understanding of these sarcolemmal abnormalities in types I and II DM (T1DM, T2DM) can inform approaches to limiting cardiomyopathy, associated IHD and their consequences. Key knowledge gaps include details of sarcolemmal changes in models of T2DM, temporal patterns of lipid, microdomain and T-tubule changes during disease development, and the precise impacts of these diverse sarcolemmal modifications. Importantly, exercise, dietary, pharmacological and gene approaches have potential for improving sarcolemmal makeup, and thus myocyte function and stress-resistance in this ubiquitous metabolic disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12933-017-0638-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5716308PMC
December 2017

The heartbreak of depression: 'Psycho-cardiac' coupling in myocardial infarction.

J Mol Cell Cardiol 2017 05 31;106:14-28. Epub 2017 Mar 31.

School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, Southport, QLD 4217, Australia; Menzies Health Institute QLD, Griffith University, Southport, QLD 4217, Australia.

Ample evidence identifies strong links between major depressive disorder (MDD) and both risk of ischemic or coronary heart disease (CHD) and resultant morbidity and mortality. The molecular mechanistic bases of these linkages are poorly defined. Systemic factors linked to MDD, including vascular dysfunction, atherosclerosis, obesity and diabetes, together with associated behavioral changes, all elevate CHD risk. Nonetheless, experimental evidence indicates the myocardium is also directly modified in depression, independently of these factors, impairing infarct tolerance and cardioprotection. It may be that MDD effectively breaks the heart's intrinsic defense mechanisms. Four extrinsic processes are implicated in this psycho-cardiac coupling, presenting potential targets for therapeutic intervention if causally involved: sympathetic over-activity vs. vagal under-activity, together with hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and immuno-inflammatory dysfunctions. However, direct evidence of their involvement remains limited, and whether targeting these upstream mediators is effective (or practical) in limiting the cardiac consequences of MDD is unknown. Detailing myocardial phenotype in MDD can also inform approaches to cardioprotection, yet cardiac molecular changes are similarly ill defined. Studies support myocardial sensitization to ischemic insult in models of MDD, including worsened oxidative and nitrosative damage, apoptosis (with altered Bcl-2 family expression) and infarction. Moreover, depression may de-sensitize hearts to protective conditioning stimuli. The mechanistic underpinnings of these changes await delineation. Such information not only advances our fundamental understanding of psychological determinants of health, but also better informs management of the cardiac consequences of MDD and implementing cardioprotection in this cohort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yjmcc.2017.03.007DOI Listing
May 2017

Cavin-1 deficiency modifies myocardial and coronary function, stretch responses and ischaemic tolerance: roles of NOS over-activity.

Basic Res Cardiol 2017 05 25;112(3):24. Epub 2017 Mar 25.

School of Medical Science, Griffith University, Southport, QLD, 4217, Australia.

Caveolae and associated cavin and caveolins may govern myocardial function, together with responses to mechanical and ischaemic stresses. Abnormalities in these proteins are also implicated in different cardiovascular disorders. However, specific roles of the cavin-1 protein in cardiac and coronary responses to mechanical/metabolic perturbation remain unclear. We characterised cardiovascular impacts of cavin-1 deficiency, comparing myocardial and coronary phenotypes and responses to stretch and ischaemia-reperfusion in hearts from cavin-1 and cavin-1 mice. Caveolae and caveolins 1 and 3 were depleted in cavin-1 hearts. Cardiac ejection properties in situ were modestly reduced in cavin-1 mice. While peak contractile performance in ex vivo myocardium from cavin-1 and cavin-1 mice was comparable, intrinsic beating rate, diastolic stiffness and Frank-Starling behaviour (stretch-dependent diastolic and systolic forces) were exaggerated in cavin-1 hearts. Increases in stretch-dependent forces were countered by NOS inhibition (100 µM L-NAME), which exposed negative inotropy in cavin-1 hearts, and were mimicked by 100 µM nitroprusside. In contrast, chronotropic differences appeared largely NOS-independent. Cavin-1 deletion also induced NOS-dependent coronary dilatation, ≥3-fold prolongation of reactive hyperaemic responses, and exaggerated pressure-dependence of coronary flow. Stretch-dependent efflux of lactate dehydrogenase and cardiac troponin I was increased and induction of brain natriuretic peptide and c-Fos inhibited in cavin-1 hearts, while ERK1/2 phospho-activation was preserved. Post-ischaemic dysfunction and damage was also exaggerated in cavin-1 hearts. Diverse effects of cavin-1 deletion reveal important roles in both NOS-dependent and -independent control of cardiac and coronary functions, together with governing sarcolemmal fragility and myocardial responses to stretch and ischaemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00395-017-0613-6DOI Listing
May 2017

Transactivation of the epidermal growth factor receptor in responses to myocardial stress and cardioprotection.

Int J Biochem Cell Biol 2017 02 31;83:97-110. Epub 2016 Dec 31.

School of Medical Science, Griffith University, Southport, QLD 4017, Australia.

The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family comprises the ErbB1 (EGFR) and ErbB4 receptors as well as the 'co-receptors' ErbB2 (which does not bind EGF ligands) and ErbB3 (which lack tyrosine kinase activity). This family of receptors is essential for cardiac development, myocardial, renal and vascular function, and cardiac responses to physiological and pathological perturbations. The EGFR appears critical in protecting cardiac cells from injury, while considerable attention has focussed on neuregulin/ErbB4 signalling in potentially ameliorating cardiomyopathy/heart failure. Indeed, the EGFRs provide a signalling nexus, upon which multiple cardioprotective stimuli appear to converge, including ischaemic preconditioning and various G protein-coupled receptors (opioid, muscarinic, adenosine, adrenergic, bradykinin, sphingosine 1-phosphate). These stimuli engage the EGFR axis (in a process referred to as transactivation) in differing ways, involving both G protein-dependent and -independent mechanisms, to promote myocardial cell survival during and following ischaemia/infarction. Elucidating the molecular processes that underpin EGFR transactivation and mediate cardiac protection will advance our understanding of the intrinsic capacity of the heart to withstand pathological insult. It should also reveal new approaches to facilitate cardioprotective therapy to limit damage during and following myocardial ischaemia/infarction, which despite intense investigation remains an unrealised, yet highly desirable, clinical goal. This review focuses on the cardiovascular functions of the EGFR, its role in cardioprotection, and the potential influences of common disease states on this signalling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocel.2016.12.014DOI Listing
February 2017

Transcriptomic effects of adenosine 2A receptor deletion in healthy and endotoxemic murine myocardium.

Purinergic Signal 2017 03 30;13(1):27-49. Epub 2016 Sep 30.

Heart Foundation Research Center, Griffith University, Southport, QLD, 4217, Australia.

Influences of adenosine 2A receptor (AR) activity on the cardiac transcriptome and genesis of endotoxemic myocarditis are unclear. We applied transcriptomic profiling (39 K Affymetrix arrays) to identify AR-sensitive molecules, revealed by receptor knockout (KO), in healthy and endotoxemic hearts. Baseline cardiac function was unaltered and only 37 AR-sensitive genes modified by AR KO (≥1.2-fold change, <5 % FDR); the five most induced are Mtr, Ppbp, Chac1, Ctsk and Cnpy2 and the five most repressed are Hp, Yipf4, Acta1, Cidec and Map3k2. Few canonical paths were impacted, with altered Gnb1, Prkar2b, Pde3b and Map3k2 (among others) implicating modified G protein/cAMP/PKA and cGMP/NOS signalling. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 20 mg/kg) challenge for 24 h modified >4100 transcripts in wild-type (WT) myocardium (≥1.5-fold change, FDR < 1 %); the most induced are Lcn2 (+590); Saa3 (+516); Serpina3n (+122); Cxcl9 (+101) and Cxcl1 (+89) and the most repressed are Car3 (-38); Adipoq (-17); Atgrl1/Aplnr (-14); H19 (-11) and Itga8 (-8). Canonical responses centred on inflammation, immunity, cell death and remodelling, with pronounced amplification of toll-like receptor (TLR) and underlying JAK-STAT, NFκB and MAPK pathways, and a 'cardio-depressant' profile encompassing suppressed ß-adrenergic, PKA and Ca signalling, electromechanical and mitochondrial function (and major shifts in transcripts impacting function/injury including Lcn2, S100a8/S100a9, Icam1/Vcam and Nox2 induction, and Adipoq, Igf1 and Aplnr repression). Endotoxemic responses were selectively modified by AR KO, supporting inflammatory suppression via AR sensitive shifts in regulators of NFκB and JAK-STAT signalling (IκBζ, IκBα, STAT1, CDKN1a and RRAS2) without impacting the cardio-depressant gene profile. Data indicate ARs exert minor effects in un-stressed myocardium and selectively suppress NFκB and JAK-STAT signalling and cardiac injury without influencing cardiac depression in endotoxemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11302-016-9536-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5334196PMC
March 2017

Sarcolemmal dependence of cardiac protection and stress-resistance: roles in aged or diseased hearts.

Br J Pharmacol 2016 10 9;173(20):2966-91. Epub 2016 Sep 9.

Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia.

Disruption of the sarcolemmal membrane is a defining feature of oncotic death in cardiac ischaemia-reperfusion (I-R), and its molecular makeup not only fundamentally governs this process but also affects multiple determinants of both myocardial I-R injury and responsiveness to cardioprotective stimuli. Beyond the influences of membrane lipids on the cytoprotective (and death) receptors intimately embedded within this bilayer, myocardial ionic homeostasis, substrate metabolism, intercellular communication and electrical conduction are all sensitive to sarcolemmal makeup, and critical to outcomes from I-R. As will be outlined in this review, these crucial sarcolemmal dependencies may underlie not only the negative effects of age and common co-morbidities on myocardial ischaemic tolerance but also the on-going challenge of implementing efficacious cardioprotection in patients suffering accidental or surgically induced I-R. We review evidence for the involvement of sarcolemmal makeup changes in the impairment of stress-resistance and cardioprotection observed with ageing and highly prevalent co-morbid conditions including diabetes and hypercholesterolaemia. A greater understanding of membrane changes with age/disease, and the inter-dependences of ischaemic tolerance and cardioprotection on sarcolemmal makeup, can facilitate the development of strategies to preserve membrane integrity and cell viability, and advance the challenging goal of implementing efficacious 'cardioprotection' in clinically relevant patient cohorts. Linked Articles This article is part of a themed section on Molecular Pharmacology of G Protein-Coupled Receptors. To view the other articles in this section visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.v173.20/issuetoc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bph.13552DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6400434PMC
October 2016

Chronic β1-adrenoceptor blockade impairs ischaemic tolerance and preconditioning in murine myocardium.

Eur J Pharmacol 2016 Oct 30;789:1-7. Epub 2016 Jun 30.

Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Southport, Australia. Electronic address:

β-adrenoceptor antagonists are commonly used in ischaemic heart disease (IHD) patients, yet may impair signalling and efficacy of 'cardioprotective' interventions. We assessed effects of chronic β1-adrenoceptor antagonism on myocardial resistance to ischaemia-reperfusion (IR) injury and the ability of cardioprotective interventions [classic ischaemic preconditioning (IPC); novel sustained ligand-activated preconditioning (SLP)] to reduce IR injury in murine hearts. Young male C57Bl/6 mice were untreated or received atenolol (0.5g/l in drinking water) for 4 weeks. Subsequently, two cardioprotective stimuli were evaluated: morphine pellets implanted (to induce SLP, controls received placebo) 5 days prior to Langendorff heart perfusion, and IPC in perfused hearts (3×1.5min ischaemia/2min reperfusion). Atenolol significantly reduced in vivo heart rate. Untreated control hearts exhibited substantial left ventricular dysfunction (~50% pressure development recovery, ~20mmHg diastolic pressure rise) with significant release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH, tissue injury indicator) after 25min ischaemia/45min reperfusion. Contractile dysfunction and elevated LDH were reduced >50% with IPC and SLP. While atenolol treatment did not modify baseline contractile function, post-ischaemic function was significantly depressed compared to untreated hearts. Atenolol pre-treatment abolished beneficial effects of IPC, whereas SLP protection was preserved. These data indicate that chronic β1-adrenoceptor blockade can exert negative effects on functional IR tolerance and negate conventional IPC (implicating β1-adrenoceptors in IR injury and IPC signalling). However, novel morphine-induced SLP is resistant to inhibition by β1-adrenoceptor antagonism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2016.06.054DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5037019PMC
October 2016

Trenbolone Improves Cardiometabolic Risk Factors and Myocardial Tolerance to Ischemia-Reperfusion in Male Rats With Testosterone-Deficient Metabolic Syndrome.

Endocrinology 2016 Jan 19;157(1):368-81. Epub 2015 Nov 19.

Heart Foundation Research Centre (D.G.D., G.E.E., A.C.B., J.P.H., E.F.D.T.), Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland 4222, Australia; School of Allied Health Science (B.R.B.), Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland 4222, Australia; and Cancer Molecular Pathology (A.K.L.), Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland 4222, Australia.

The increasing prevalence of obesity adds another dimension to the pathophysiology of testosterone (TEST) deficiency (TD) and potentially impairs the therapeutic efficacy of classical TEST replacement therapy. We investigated the therapeutic effects of selective androgen receptor modulation with trenbolone (TREN) in a model of TD with the metabolic syndrome (MetS). Male Wistar rats (n=50) were fed either a control standard rat chow (CTRL) or a high-fat/high-sucrose (HF/HS) diet. After 8 weeks of feeding, rats underwent sham surgery or an orchiectomy (ORX). Alzet miniosmotic pumps containing either vehicle, 2-mg/kg·d TEST or 2-mg/kg·d TREN were implanted in HF/HS+ORX rats. Body composition, fat distribution, lipid profile, and insulin sensitivity were assessed. Infarct size was quantified to assess myocardial damage after in vivo ischaemia reperfusion, before cardiac and prostate histology was performed. The HF/HS+ORX animals had increased sc and visceral adiposity; circulating triglycerides, cholesterol, and insulin; and myocardial damage, with low circulating TEST compared with CTRLs. Both TEST and TREN protected HF/HS+ORX animals against sc fat accumulation, hypercholesterolaemia, and myocardial damage. However, only TREN protected against visceral fat accumulation, hypertriglyceridaemia, and hyperinsulinaemia and reduced myocardial damage relative to CTRLs. TEST caused widespread cardiac fibrosis and prostate hyperplasia, which were less pronounced with TREN. We propose that TEST replacement therapy may have contraindications for males with TD and obesity-related MetS. TREN treatment may be more effective in restoring androgen status and reducing cardiovascular risk in males with TD and MetS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2015-1603DOI Listing
January 2016

Pre- or post-ischemic bilirubin ditaurate treatment reduces oxidative tissue damage and improves cardiac function.

Int J Cardiol 2016 Jan 1;202:27-33. Epub 2015 Sep 1.

Heart Foundation Research Centre, Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: Unconjugated bilirubin (UCB), an endogenous antioxidant, may protect the heart against ischemia-reperfusion (I-R) injury. However, the 'cardioprotective' potential of bilirubin therapy remains unclear. We tested whether pre- or post-ischemic treatment of ex vivo perfused hearts with bilirubin ditaurate (BRT) improves post-ischemic functional outcomes and myocardial oxidative damage.

Methods: Isolated Langendorff perfused hearts (male, Wistar rats) were treated with 50 μM BRT for 30 min before (Pre) or after (Post) 30 min of zero-flow ischemia. Functional outcomes were monitored, with myocardial damage estimated from creatine kinase efflux, infarct size, and left ventricular lipid/protein oxidation assessed by measuring malondialdehyde and protein carbonyls. Ischemia induced contractile dysfunction and cellular injury, with both BRT treatments improving I-R outcomes.

Results: Final post-ischemic recoveries for left ventricular diastolic/developed pressures were significantly enhanced in treated groups: end-diastolic pressure (Control, 78±14, Pre, 51±15*, Post, 51±13 mm Hg*); left ventricular developed pressure, (LVDP; Control 44±15, Pre, 71±19*, Post, 84±13 mm Hg*). Myocardial injury/infarction (MI) was also significantly reduced with BRT treatment: post-ischemic creatine kinase efflux (Control, 1.24±0.41, Pre, 0.86±0.31*, Post, 0.51±0.29 U/g/mL*; infarct size, Control, 67±17, Pre, 39±15*, Post, 22±11%*). These changes were accompanied by significantly reduced malondialdehyde and protein carbonyl content in Pre and Post treated hearts (*P<0.05 vs. Control).

Conclusions: These data collectively reveal significant cardioprotection upon BRT treatment, with post-treatment being particularly effective. Significant reductions in infarct size and lipid and protein oxidation indicate a mechanism related to protection from oxidative damage and indicate the potential utility of this molecule as a post-MI treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2015.08.192DOI Listing
January 2016

Opioid receptors and cardioprotection - 'opioidergic conditioning' of the heart.

Br J Pharmacol 2015 Apr 27;172(8):2026-50. Epub 2015 Feb 27.

Heart Foundation Research Centre, Griffith Health Institute Griffith University, Southport, Qld., Australia.

Ischaemic heart disease (IHD) remains a major cause of morbidity/mortality globally, firmly established in Westernized or 'developed' countries and rising in prevalence in developing nations. Thus, cardioprotective therapies to limit myocardial damage with associated ischaemia-reperfusion (I-R), during infarction or surgical ischaemia, is a very important, although still elusive, clinical goal. The opioid receptor system, encompassing the δ (vas deferens), κ (ketocyclazocine) and μ (morphine) opioid receptors and their endogenous opioid ligands (endorphins, dynorphins, enkephalins), appears as a logical candidate for such exploitation. This regulatory system may orchestrate organism and organ responses to stress, induces mammalian hibernation and associated metabolic protection, triggers powerful adaptive stress resistance in response to ischaemia/hypoxia (preconditioning), and mediates cardiac benefit stemming from physical activity. In addition to direct myocardial actions, central opioid receptor signalling may also enhance the ability of the heart to withstand I-R injury. The δ- and κ-opioid receptors are strongly implicated in cardioprotection across models and species (including anti-infarct and anti-arrhythmic actions), with mixed evidence for μ opioid receptor-dependent protection in animal and human tissues. A small number of clinical trials have provided evidence of cardiac benefit from morphine or remifentanil in cardiopulmonary bypass or coronary angioplasty patients, although further trials of subtype-specific opioid receptor agonists are needed. The precise roles and utility of this GPCR family in healthy and diseased human myocardium, and in mediating central and peripheral survival responses, warrant further investigation, as do the putative negative influences of ageing, IHD co-morbidities, and relevant drugs on opioid receptor signalling and protective responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bph.13042DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4386979PMC
April 2015

Hyperbilirubinemia modulates myocardial function, aortic ejection, and ischemic stress resistance in the Gunn rat.

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2014 Oct 15;307(8):H1142-9. Epub 2014 Aug 15.

Heart Foundation Research Centre, Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia;

Mildly elevated circulating unconjugated bilirubin (UCB) is associated with protection against hypertension and ischemic heart disease. We assessed whether endogenously elevated bilirubin in Gunn rats modifies cardiovascular function and resistance to ischemic insult. Hearts were assessed ex vivo (Langendorff perfusion) and in vivo (Millar catheterization and echocardiography), and left ventricular myocardial gene expression was measured via quantitative real-time PCR. Ex vivo analysis revealed reduced intrinsic contractility in the Gunn myocardium (+dP/dt: 1,976 ± 622 vs. 2,907 ± 334 mmHg/s, P < 0.01; -dP/dt: -1,435 ± 372 vs. -2,234 ± 478 mmHg/s, P < 0.01), which correlated positively with myocardial UCB concentration (P < 0.05). In vivo analyses showed no changes in left ventricular contractile parameters and ejection (fractional shortening and ejection fraction). However, Gunn rats exhibited reductions in the rate of aortic pressure development (3,008 ± 461 vs. 4,452 ± 644 mmHg/s, P < 0.02), mean aortic velocity (439 ± 64 vs. 644 ± 62 mm/s, P < 0.01), and aortic volume time integral pressure gradient (2.32 ± 0.65 vs. 5.72 ± 0.74 mmHg, P < 0.01), in association with significant aortic dilatation (12-24% increase in aortic diameter, P < 0.05). Ex vivo Gunn hearts exhibited improved ventricular function after 35 min of ischemia and 90 min of reperfusion (63 ± 14 vs. 35 ± 12%, P < 0.01). These effects were accompanied by increased glutathione peroxidase and reduced superoxide dismutase and phospholamban gene expression in Gunn rat myocardium (P < 0.05). These data collectively indicate that hyperbilirubinemia in Gunn rats 1) reduces intrinsic cardiac contractility, which is compensated for in vivo; 2) induces aortic dilatation, which may beneficially influence aortic ejection velocities and pressures; and 3) may improve myocardial stress resistance in association with beneficial transcriptional changes. These effects may contribute to protection from cardiovascular disease with elevated bilirubin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00001.2014DOI Listing
October 2014

Sarcolemmal cholesterol and caveolin-3 dependence of cardiac function, ischemic tolerance, and opioidergic cardioprotection.

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2014 Sep 25;307(6):H895-903. Epub 2014 Jul 25.

Heart Foundation Research Centre, Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Southport, Queensland, Australia;

Cholesterol-rich caveolar microdomains and associated caveolins influence sarcolemmal ion channel and receptor function and protective stress signaling. However, the importance of membrane cholesterol content to cardiovascular function and myocardial responses to ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) and cardioprotective stimuli are unclear. We assessed the effects of graded cholesterol depletion with methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) and lifelong knockout (KO) or overexpression (OE) of caveolin-3 (Cav-3) on cardiac function, I/R tolerance, and opioid receptor (OR)-mediated protection. Langendorff-perfused hearts from young male C57Bl/6 mice were untreated or treated with 0.02-1.0 mM MβCD for 25 min to deplete membrane cholesterol and disrupt caveolae. Hearts were subjected to 25-min ischemia/45-min reperfusion, and the cardioprotective effects of morphine applied either acutely or chronically [sustained ligand-activated preconditioning (SLP)] were assessed. MβCD concentration dependently reduced normoxic contractile function and postischemic outcomes in association with graded (10-30%) reductions in sarcolemmal cholesterol. Cardioprotection with acute morphine was abolished with ≥20 μM MβCD, whereas SLP was more robust and only inhibited with ≥200 μM MβCD. Deletion of Cav-3 also reduced, whereas Cav-3 OE improved, myocardial I/R tolerance. Protection via SLP remained equally effective in Cav-3 KO mice and was additive with innate protection arising with Cav-3 OE. These data reveal the membrane cholesterol dependence of normoxic myocardial and coronary function, I/R tolerance, and OR-mediated cardioprotection in murine hearts (all declining with cholesterol depletion). In contrast, baseline function appears insensitive to Cav-3, whereas cardiac I/R tolerance parallels Cav-3 expression. Novel SLP appears unique, being less sensitive to cholesterol depletion than acute OR protection and arising independently of Cav-3 expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00081.2014DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4166742PMC
September 2014

Cardioprotective trafficking of caveolin to mitochondria is Gi-protein dependent.

Anesthesiology 2014 Sep;121(3):538-48

From the Department of Anesthesiology, Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China (J.W., Y.Y.); VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California (P.M.P., B.P.H., D.M.R., H.H.P.); Department of Anesthesiology, University of California, San Diego, California (J.M.S., I.R.N., J.C.F., E.K., P.M.P., B.P.H., D.M.R., H.H.P.); and Heart Foundation Research Center, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia (J.P.H.).

Background: Caveolae are a nexus for protective signaling. Trafficking of caveolin to mitochondria is essential for adaptation to cellular stress though the trafficking mechanisms remain unknown. The authors hypothesized that G protein-coupled receptor/inhibitory G protein (Gi) activation leads to caveolin trafficking to mitochondria.

Methods: Mice were exposed to isoflurane or oxygen vehicle (30 min, ± 36 h pertussis toxin pretreatment, an irreversible Gi inhibitor). Caveolin trafficking, cardioprotective "survival kinase" signaling, mitochondrial function, and ultrastructure were assessed.

Results: Isoflurane increased cardiac caveolae (n = 8 per group; data presented as mean ± SD for Ctrl versus isoflurane; [caveolin-1: 1.78 ± 0.12 vs. 3.53 ± 0.77; P < 0.05]; [caveolin-3: 1.68 ± 0.29 vs. 2.67 ± 0.46; P < 0.05]) and mitochondrial caveolin levels (n = 16 per group; [caveolin-1: 0.87 ± 0.18 vs. 1.89 ± .19; P < 0.05]; [caveolin-3: 1.10 ± 0.29 vs. 2.26 ± 0.28; P < 0.05]), and caveolin-enriched mitochondria exhibited improved respiratory function (n = 4 per group; [state 3/complex I: 10.67 ± 1.54 vs. 37.6 ± 7.34; P < 0.05]; [state 3/complex II: 37.19 ± 4.61 vs. 71.48 ± 15.28; P < 0.05]). Isoflurane increased phosphorylation of survival kinases (n = 8 per group; [protein kinase B: 0.63 ± 0.20 vs. 1.47 ± 0.18; P < 0.05]; [glycogen synthase kinase 3β: 1.23 ± 0.20 vs. 2.35 ± 0.20; P < 0.05]). The beneficial effects were blocked by pertussis toxin.

Conclusions: Gi proteins are involved in trafficking caveolin to mitochondria to enhance stress resistance. Agents that target Gi activation and caveolin trafficking may be viable cardioprotective agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0000000000000295DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4219636PMC
September 2014

Dysfunctional survival-signaling and stress-intolerance in aged murine and human myocardium.

Exp Gerontol 2014 Feb 4;50:72-81. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

Heart Foundation Research Centre, Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Southport, Australia. Electronic address:

Changes in cytoprotective signaling may influence cardiac aging, and underpin sensitization to ischemic insult and desensitization to 'anti-ischemic' therapies. We tested whether age-dependent shifts in ischemia-reperfusion (I-R) tolerance in murine and human myocardium are associated with reduced efficacies and coupling of membrane, cytoplasmic and mitochondrial survival-signaling. Hormesis (exemplified in ischemic preconditioning; IPC) and expression of proteins influencing signaling/stress-resistance were also assessed in mice. Mouse hearts (18 vs. 2-4 mo) and human atrial tissue (75±2 vs. 55±2 yrs) exhibited profound age-dependent reductions in I-R tolerance. In mice aging negated cardioprotection via IPC, G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) agonism (opioid, A1 and A3 adenosine receptors) and distal protein kinase c (PKC) activation (4 nM phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate; PMA). In contrast, p38-mitogen activated protein kinase (p38-MAPK) activation (1 μM anisomycin), mitochondrial ATP-sensitive K(+) channel (mKATP) opening (50 μM diazoxide) and permeability transition pore (mPTP) inhibition (0.2 μM cyclosporin A) retained protective efficacies in older hearts (though failed to eliminate I-R tolerance differences). A similar pattern of change in protective efficacies was observed in human tissue. Murine hearts exhibited molecular changes consistent with altered membrane control (reduced caveolin-3, cholesterol and caveolae), kinase signaling (reduced p70 ribosomal s6 kinase; p70s6K) and stress-resistance (increased G-protein receptor kinase 2, GRK2; glycogen synthase kinase 3β, GSK3β; and cytosolic cytochrome c). In summary, myocardial I-R tolerance declines with age in association with dysfunctional hormesis and transduction of survival signals from GPCRs/PKC to mitochondrial effectors. Differential changes in proteins governing caveolar and mitochondrial function may contribute to signal dysfunction and stress-intolerance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2013.11.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4096533PMC
February 2014

Postnatal shifts in ischemic tolerance and cell survival signaling in murine myocardium.

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2013 Nov 25;305(10):R1171-81. Epub 2013 Sep 25.

Heart Research, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute; Department of Cardiology, The Royal Children's Hospital; Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; and.

The immature heart is known to be resistant to ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury; however, key proteins engaged in phospho-dependent signaling pathways crucial to cell survival are not yet defined. Our goal was to determine the postnatal changes in myocardial tolerance to I/R, including baseline expression of key proteins governing I/R tolerance and their phosphorylation during I/R. Hearts from male C57Bl/6 mice (neonates, 2, 4, 8, and 12 wk of age, n = 6/group) were assayed for survival signaling/effectors [Akt, p38MAPK, glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), heat shock protein 27 (HSP27), connexin-43, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), and caveolin-3] and regulators of apoptosis (Bax and Bcl-2) and autophagy (LC3B, Parkin, and Beclin1). The effect of I/R on ventricular function was measured in isolated perfused hearts from immature (4 wk) and adult (12 wk) mice. The neonatal myocardium exhibits a large pool of inactive Akt; high phospho-activation of p38MAPK, HSP27 and connexin-43; phospho-inhibition of GSK-3β; and high expression of caveolin-3, HIF-1α, LC3B, Beclin1, Bax, and Bcl-2. Immature hearts sustained less dysfunction and infarction following I/R than adults. Emergence of I/R intolerance in adult vs. immature hearts was associated with complex proteomic changes: decreased expression of Akt, Bax, and Bcl-2; increased GSK-3β, connexin-43, HIF-1α, LC3B, and Bax:Bcl-2; enhanced postischemic HIF-1α, caveolin-3, Bax, and Bcl-2; and greater postischemic GSK-3β and HSP27 phosphorylation. Neonatal myocardial stress resistance reflects high expression of prosurvival and autophagy proteins and apoptotic regulators. Notably, there is high phosphorylation of GSK-3β, p38MAPK, and HSP27 and low phosphorylation of Akt (high Akt "reserve"). Subsequent maturation-related reductions in I/R tolerance are associated with reductions in Akt, Bcl-2, LC3B, and Beclin1, despite increased expression and reduced phospho-inhibition of GSK-3β.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpregu.00198.2013DOI Listing
November 2013