Exercise training reveals inflexibility of the diaphragm in an animal model of patients with obesity-driven heart failure with a preserved ejection fraction
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of the American Heart Association. 2017, 6 (10), 1-17. 10.1161/JAHA.117.006416
Background Respiratory muscle weakness contributes to exercise intolerance in patients with heart failure with a preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF)—a condition characterized by multiple comorbidities with few proven treatments. We aimed, therefore, to provide novel insight into the underlying diaphragmatic alterations that occur in HFpEF by using an obese cardiometabolic rat model and further assessed whether exercise training performed only after the development of overt HFpEF could reverse impairments. Methods and Results Obese ZSF1 rats (n=12) were compared with their lean controls (n=8) at 20 weeks, with 3 additional groups of obese ZSF1 rats compared at 28 weeks following 8 weeks of either sedentary behavior (n=13), high‐intensity interval training (n=11), or moderate‐continuous training (n=11). Obese rats developed an obvious HFpEF phenotype at 20 and 28 weeks. In the diaphragm at 20 weeks, HFpEF induced a shift towards an oxidative phenotype and a fiber hypertrophy paralleled by a lower protein expression in MuRF1 and MuRF2, yet mitochondrial and contractile functional impairments were observed. At 28 weeks, neither the exercise training regimen of high‐intensity interval training or moderate‐continuous training reversed any of the diaphragm alterations induced by HFpEF. Conclusions This study, using a well‐characterized rat model of HFpEF underpinned by multiple comorbidities and exercise intolerance (ie, one that closely resembles the patient phenotype), provides evidence that diaphragm alterations and dysfunction induced in overt HFpEF are not reversed following 8 weeks of aerobic exercise training. As such, whether alternative therapeutic interventions are required to treat respiratory muscle weakness in HFpEF warrants further investigation.