Dual PPARα/γ agonists that were developed to target hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes caused cardiac dysfunction or other adverse effects. We studied the mechanisms that underlie the cardiotoxic effects of a dual PPARα/γ agonist, tesaglitazar, in wild-type and diabetic (leptin receptor-deficient, db/db) mice. Mice treated with tesaglitazarcontaining chow or high-fat diet developed cardiac dysfunction despite lower plasma triglycerides and glucose levels. Expression of cardiac PPARγ coactivator 1-α (PGC1α), which promotes mitochondrial biogenesis, had the most profound reduction among various fatty acid metabolism genes. Furthermore, we observed increased acetylation of PGC1α, which suggests PGC1α inhibition and lowered sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) expression. This change was associated with lower mitochondrial abundance. Combined pharmacological activation of PPARα and PPARγ in C57BL/6 mice reproduced the reduction of PGC1α expression and mitochondrial abundance. Resveratrol-mediated SIRT1 activation attenuated tesaglitazar-induced cardiac dysfunction and corrected myocardial mitochondrial respiration in C57BL/6 and diabetic mice but not in cardiomyocyte-specific Sirt1-/- mice. Our data show that drugs that activate both PPARα and PPARγ lead to cardiac dysfunction associated with PGC1α suppression and lower mitochondrial abundance, likely due to competition between these 2 transcription factors.
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