American Diabetes Association
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Autophagy inhibition enables Nrf2 to exaggerate the progression of diabetic cardiomyopathy in mice

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posted on 2020-09-18, 18:48 authored by Ada AdminAda Admin, Huimei Zang, Weiwei Wu, Lei Qi, Wenbin Tan, Prakash Nagarkatti, Mitzi Nagarkatti, Xuejun Wang, Taixing Cui
Nuclear factor-erythroid factor 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) may either ameliorate or worsen diabetic cardiomyopathy. However, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Herein we report a novel mechanism of Nrf2-mediated myocardial damage in type 1 diabetes (T1D). Global Nrf2 knockout (Nrf2KO) hardly affected the onset of cardiac dysfunction induced by T1D but slowed down its progression in mice independent of sex. In addition, Nrf2KO inhibited cardiac pathological remodeling, apoptosis and oxidative stress associated with both onset and advancement of cardiac dysfunction in T1D. Such Nrf2-mediated progression of diabetic cardiomyopathy was confirmed by cardiomyocyte-restricted (CR) Nrf2 transgenic (Tg) approach in mice. Moreover, cardiac autophagy inhibition via CR KO of autophagy related 5 gene (CR-Atg5KO) led to early onset and accelerated development of cardiomyopathy in T1D, and CR-Atg5KO-induced adverse phenotypes were rescued by additional Nrf2KO. Mechanistically, chronic T1D leads to glucolipotoxicity inhibiting autolysosome efflux, which in turn intensifies Nrf2-driven transcription to fuel lipid peroxidation while inactivating Nrf2-mediated antioxidant defense and impairing Nrf2-coordinated iron metabolism, thereby leading to ferroptosis in cardiomyocytes. These results demonstrate that diabetes over time causes autophagy deficiency, which turns off Nrf2-mediated defense while switching on Nrf2-operated pathological program toward ferroptosis in cardiomyocytes, thereby worsening the progression of diabetic cardiomyopathy.


This study was supported by American Diabetes Association (1-16-IBS-059) and the National Institute of Health (P01 AT003961, R01 HL131667, R01 AR073172).


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