Consuming a high-fat diet can activate a heart response that causes destructive growth and could lead to a higher risk of heart attack, new research shows. In an article published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, researchers examined the effect of feeding mice a high-fat diet on oxidative stress levels on heart cells. The team at the University of Reading found that the cells of the mice had twice the oxidative stress and that the heart cells were up to 1.8 times larger due to the enlarged heart associated with heart disease. .
The first named author, Dr Sunbal Naureen Bhatti, University of Reading, said: “Our research shows one way a high fat diet can damage the muscle cells that make up our heart. It appears that a change occurred at one level when mice were fed a high fat diet that caused a normally harmless protein, Nox2, to become overactive. The precise nature of how the Nox2 protein causes oxidative damage and triggers destructive hypertrophy is still being researched. “We are only scratching the surface of the reaction of Nox2 protein to diets, but our research clearly shows that high fat diets have the potential to cause significant damage to the heart,” Bhatti added.
The researchers focused on a key Nox2 protein believed to be associated with increased oxidative stress in the heart. The study found that mice fed a high fat diet had twice as much Nox2 activity, which also led to a similar amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS), a free radical associated with pathological damage to the body. To test whether Nox2 was involved in the cause of cardiac stress, the team compared results with mice bred specifically to “ knock out ” Nox2, preventing the protein from activating at the cellular level. The “knockout” mice were also fed a high fat diet, but showed little or no of the same high levels of oxidative stress.
In addition, the team used three experimental treatments known to reduce Nox2-related ROS production, and found that all three showed promise in reducing the effect of ROS by damaging the hearts of mice. Mice that were fed high fat diets received 45 percent of their calories from fat, 20 percent from protein and 35 percent from carbohydrates. (ANI)
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