Abstract 188: Contractile Function and Myofilament Proteins of the Naked Mole-rat Heart Show Resistance to Oxidative Stress
The naked mole-rat (NMR) is the longest-lived rodent, with a maximum lifespan of >31 years. Unlike every other mammal studied to date, this species withstands cardiovascular structural and functional changes for at least 75% of its lifespan. Due to the intersection of oxidative stress, aging, and cardiovascular disease, we questioned if NMRs were more resistant to oxidative stress-induced cardiac dysfunction compared to short-lived mice. Echocardiography showed that 7 days after a 20 mg/kg dose of doxorubicin (DOX), mice had a 25% decline in fractional shortening (36 ± 1% to 27 ± 2%). In contrast, the fractional shortening of NMRs was unchanged with DOX treatment (27 ± 1%). Previously we observed that while basal cardiac function is low, NMRs have a robust cardiac reserve, displaying a 1.7 fold increase in fractional shortening under exercise-like conditions. DOX-treated NMRs had a significant reduction in their dobutamine response, signifying a diminished cardiac reserve. Intriguingly, we found no changes in phosphorylation or expression of myofilament proteins in the NMR heart with DOX treatment. Mice on the other hand, increased the phosphorylation of cardiac myosin binding protein-C and switched expression from predominantly α-myosin heavy chain to the β-isoform. Electron microscopy showed that DOX caused marked mitochondrial swelling and loss of cristae as well as massive cardiac myofibrillar disarray in mice. Conversely, DOX-treated NMRs had only slight alterations to myofilament structure. NMRs additionally had twofold higher levels of glutathione in their hearts, indicating a high antioxidant capacity. These findings reveal that long-lived NMRs are less susceptible to oxidative stress-induced cardiac dysfunction than mice. The NMR’s low basal cardiac function, unique regulation of myofilament proteins, and high glutathione levels may all be integral in the species’ ability to withstand oxidative damage and preserve cardiac function well into its third decade of life.
Author Disclosures: K.M. Grimes: None. D. Barefield: None. D.A. Kramer: None. S. Sadayappan: None. R. Buffenstein: 2. Research Grant; Modest; American Heart Association (12GRNT12030299).
This research has received full or partial funding support from the American Heart Association, South Central Affiliate (Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma & Texas).
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.