Natarajan N, Vujic A, Das J, Wang AC, Phu KK, Kiehm SH, Ricci-Blair EM, Zhu AY, Vaughan KL, Colman RJ, Mattison JA, Lee RT. 2019. Effect of dietary fat and sucrose consumption on cardiac fibrosis in mice and rhesus monkeys. JCI insight. 4(18). Pubmed: 31415241 DOI:10.1172/jci.insight.128685


Calorie restriction (CR) improved health span in 2 longitudinal studies in nonhuman primates (NHPs), yet only the University of Wisconsin (UW) study demonstrated an increase in survival in CR monkeys relative to controls; the National Institute on Aging (NIA) study did not. Here, analysis of left ventricle samples showed that CR did not reduce cardiac fibrosis relative to controls. However, there was a 5.9-fold increase of total fibrosis in UW hearts, compared with NIA hearts. Diet composition was a prominent difference between the studies; therefore, we used the NHP diets to characterize diet-associated molecular and functional changes in the hearts of mice. Consistent with the findings from the NHP samples, mice fed a UW or a modified NIA diet with increased sucrose and fat developed greater cardiac fibrosis compared with mice fed the NIA diet, and transcriptomics analysis revealed diet-induced activation of myocardial oxidative phosphorylation and cardiac muscle contraction pathways.

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Rich Lee seeks to understand heart failure and metabolic diseases that accompany human aging, and translate that understanding into therapies. Lee is an active clinician, regularly treating patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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