Open Access Original investigation

Body adiposity dictates different mechanisms of increased coronary reactivity related to improved in vivo cardiac function

Evangelia Mourmoura12, Valérie Chaté12, Karine Couturier12, Brigitte Laillet34, Guillaume Vial5, Jean-Paul Rigaudiere34, Béatrice Morio5, Corinne Malpuech-Brugère34, Kasra Azarnoush6 and Luc Demaison1234*

Author Affiliations

1 Université Joseph Fourier, Laboratoire de Bioénergétique Fondamentale et Appliquée, BP 53, Grenoble F-38041, France

2 U1055 INSERM, Grenoble F-38041, France

3 INRA, UMR 1019 Nutrition Humaine, CRNH Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, France

4 Clermont Université, Université d’Auvergne, UMR 1019 Nutrition Humaine, Clermont-Ferrand, France

5 INSERM UMR-1060, Laboratoire CarMeN, Université Lyon 1, INRA USC1362, INSA de Lyon, Facultés de médecine Rockefeller et Charles Merieux Lyon-Sud, Lyon F-69003, France

6 Heart surgery Department, G. Montpied Hospital, Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital, Clermont-Ferrand, France

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Cardiovascular Diabetology 2014, 13:54  doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-54

Published: 27 February 2014



Saturated fatty acid-rich high fat (HF) diets trigger abdominal adiposity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and cardiac dysfunction. This study was aimed at evaluating the effects of nascent obesity on the cardiac function of animals fed a high-fat diet and at analyzing the mechanisms by which these alterations occurred at the level of coronary reserve.

Materials and methods

Rats were fed a control (C) or a HF diet containing high proportions of saturated fatty acids for 3 months. Thereafter, their cardiac function was evaluated in vivo using a pressure probe inserted into the cavity of the left ventricle. Their heart was isolated, perfused iso-volumetrically according to the Langendorff mode and the coronary reserve was evaluated by determining the endothelial-dependent (EDV) and endothelial-independent (EIV) vasodilatations in the absence and presence of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase inhibitors (L-NAME and indomethacin). The fatty acid composition of cardiac phospholipids was then evaluated.


Although all the HF-fed rats increased their abdominal adiposity, some of them did not gain body weight (HF- group) compared to the C group whereas other ones had a higher body weight (HF+). All HF rats displayed a higher in vivo cardiac activity associated with an increased EDV. In the HF- group, the improved EDV was due to an increase in the endothelial cell vasodilatation activity whereas in the HF+ group, the enhanced EDV resulted from an improved sensitivity of coronary smooth muscle cells to nitric oxide. Furthermore, in the HF- group the main pathway implicated in the EDV was the NOS pathway while in the HF+ group the COX pathway.


Nascent obesity-induced improvement of cardiac function may be supported by an enhanced coronary reserve occurring via different mechanisms. These mechanisms implicate either the endothelial cells activity or the smooth muscle cells sensitivity depending on the body adiposity of the animals.

Obesity; Cardiac function; Coronary reserve; Nitric oxide; Cyclooxygenase; Arachidonic acid