Preserved skeletal muscle mitochondrial function, redox state, inflammation and mass in obese mice with chronic heart failure

Gianluca Gortan Cappellari, Aneta Aleksova, Matteo Dal Ferro, Antonio Cannatà, Annamaria Semolic, Michela Zanetti, Jochen Springer, Stefan D. Anker, Mauro Giacca, Gianfranco Sinagra, Rocco Barazzoni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Skeletal muscle (SM) mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, inflammation and muscle mass loss may worsen prognosis in chronic heart failure (CHF). Diet-induced obesity may also cause SM mitochondrial dysfunction as well as oxidative stress and inflammation, but obesity per se may be paradoxically associated with high SM mass and mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production, as well as with enhanced survival in CHF. Methods: We investigated interactions between myocardial infarction(MI)-induced CHF and diet-induced obesity (12-wk 60% vs. standard 10% fat) in modulating gastrocnemius muscle (GM) mitochondrial ATP and tissue superoxide generation, oxidized glutathione (GSSG), cytokines and insulin signalling activation in 10-wk-old mice in the following groups: lean sham-operated, lean CHF (LCHF), obese CHF (ObCHF; all n = 8). The metabolic impact of obesity per se was investigated by pair-feeding ObCHF to standard diet with stabilized excess body weight until sacrifice at wk 8 post-MI. Results: Compared to sham, LCHF had low GM mass, paralleled by low mitochondrial ATP production and high mitochondrial reative oxygen species (ROS) production, pro-oxidative redox state, pro-inflammatory cytokine changes and low insulin signaling (p < 0.05). In contrast, excess body weight in pair-fed ObCHF was associated with high GM mass, preserved mitochondrial ATP and mitochondrial ROS production, unaltered redox state, tissue cytokines and insulin signaling (p = non significant vs. Sham, p < 0.05 vs. LCHF) despite higher superoxide generation from non-mitochondrial sources. Conclusions: CHF disrupts skeletal muscle mitochondrial function in lean rodents with low ATP and high mitochondrial ROS production, associated with tissue pro-inflammatory cytokine profile, low insulin signaling and muscle mass loss. Following CHF onset, obesity per se is associated with high skeletal muscle mass and preserved tissue ATP production, mitochondrial ROS production, redox state, cytokines and insulin signaling. These paradoxical and potentially favorable obesity-associated metabolic patterns could contribute to reported obesity-induced survival advantage in CHF.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3393
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Chronic heart failure
  • Obesity
  • Obesity paradox
  • Sarcopenia
  • Skeletal muscle


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