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Why high-fat diet and lack of enzyme ups heart disease risk

Posted On: Sept. 14, 2011

Washington, Sept 13 (ANI): Researchers have discovered why a high-fat diet is never healthy for people combating heart disease.

Mitchell Lazar, MD, PhD, the Sylvan Eisman Professor of Medicine and director of the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues, have found that mice lacking a gene-expression-controlling enzyme fed a high-fat diet experience rapid thickening of the heart muscle leading to heart failure.

Modulating the enzyme's activity could be a new pharmaceutical target, the report said.

The team found that the engineered mice without the enzyme tended to underexpress genes important in fat metabolism and energy production.

Essentially, when fed a high-fat diet, these animals' hearts cannot generate enough energy and thus cannot pump blood efficiently.

Lazar and his team wanted to know what would happen if the gene was inactivated in heart tissue after birth. To their surprise, they found that these animals were essentially normal.

On a diet of regular chow, the engineered mice lived as long as their normal littermates, although they did tend to accumulate fat in their heart tissue.

On a high-fat diet, however, these animals deteriorated rapidly, dying within a few months of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and heart failure.

The study has been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. (ANI)

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