Amino Acid Supplementation Counteracts Metabolic and Functional Damage in the Diabetic Rat Heart

Maria Antonietta Pellegrino, Cesare Patrini, Evasio Pasini, Lorenza Brocca, Vincenzo Flati, Giovanni Corsetti, Giuseppe D'Antona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We aimed to assess whether a specific mixture of amino acid (AA) supplements counteracts the metabolic and functional changes in the streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rat heart model. Adult male Wistar rats were divided into 6 groups (n = 10 each) and treated for 43 days: nondiabetic controls, nondiabetic rats given an AA mixture (0.1 g/kg per day), diabetic rats (induced with 65 mg/kg STZ given intraperitoneally), diabetic rats given AAs, diabetic rats given insulin (5 IU/day given subcutaneously), and diabetic rats given insulin plus AAs. During treatment, glycemia and insulinemia levels were measured in all groups. Changes in enzyme (reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide-dehydrogenase, cytochrome c oxidase) activities and myosin heavy chain (MHC) composition were measured in the left ventricle. In 5 rats contractile function was assessed by measuring maximal shortening velocity of skinned ventricular trabeculae and the expression of translational regulator mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) was also found. STZ-induced diabetes was associated with reduced myocardial contractility, overall loss of oxidative capacity, a shift toward a slower MHC phenotype, and decreased mTOR tissue content. All of these changes appeared to be reversible with insulin. AA supplements partially restored the myocardial and oxidative dysfunction and also increased mTOR tissue content. The combination of insulin and AAs did not have a synergistic effect on either enzymatic or functional profiles. We conclude that AA supplements may contribute to restoring the oxidative and contractile dysfunction of diabetic rat hearts, probably through an mTOR-insulin independent mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number11 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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