Metformin prevents the development of chronic heart failure in the SHHF rat model

Antonio Cittadini, Raffaele Napoli, Maria Gaia Monti, Domenica Rea, Salvatore Longobardi, Paolo Antonio Netti, Marion Walser, Mariateresa Samà, Gianluca Aimaretti, Jörgen Isgaard, Luigi Saccà

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Insulin resistance is a recently identified mechanism involved in the pathophysiology of chronic heart failure (CHF). We investigated the effects of two insulin-sensitizing drugs (metformin and rosiglitazone) in a genetic model of spontaneously hypertensive, insulin-resistant rats (SHHF). Thirty SHHF rats were randomized into three treatment groups as follows: 1) metformin (100 mg/kg per day), 2) rosiglitazone (2 mg/kg per day), and 3) no drug. Ten Sprague-Dawley rats served as normal controls. At the end of the treatment period (12 months), the cardiac phenotype was characterized by histology, echocardiography, and isolated perfused heart studies. Metformin attenuated left ventricular (LV) remodeling, as shown by reduced LV volumes, wall stress, perivascular fibrosis, and cardiac lipid accumulation. Metformin improved both systolic and diastolic indices as well as myocardial mechanical efficiency, as shown by improved ability to convert metabolic energy into mechanical work. Metformin induced a marked activation of AMP-activated protein kinase, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, and vascular endothelial growth factor and reduced tumor necrosis factor-α expression and myocyte apoptosis. Rosiglitazone did not affect LV remodeling, increased perivascular fibrosis, and promoted further cardiac lipid accumulation. In conclusion, long-term treatment with metformin, but not with rosiglitazone, prevents the development of severe CHF in the SHHF model by a wide-spectrum interaction that involves molecular, structural, functional, and metabolic-energetic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)944-953
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


Dive into the research topics of 'Metformin prevents the development of chronic heart failure in the SHHF rat model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this