Cardiac lipotoxicity plays an important role in the pathogenesis of obesity-related cardiovascular disease. The flavonoid quercetin (QUE), a nutraceutical compound that is abundant in the “Mediterranean diet”, has been shown to be a potential therapeutic agent in cardiac and metabolic diseases. Here, we investigated the beneficial role of QUE and its derivative Q2, which demonstrates improved bioavailability and chemical stability, in cardiac lipotoxicity. To this end, H9c2 cardiomyocytes were pre-treated with QUE or Q2 and then exposed to palmitate (PA) to recapitulate the cardiac lipotoxicity occurring in obesity. Our results showed that both QUE and Q2 significantly attenuated PA-dependent cell death, although QUE was effective at a lower concentration (50 nM) when compared with Q2 (250 nM). QUE decreased the release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), an important indicator of cytotoxicity, and the accumulation of intracellular lipid droplets triggered by PA. On the other hand, QUE protected cardiomyocytes from PA-induced oxidative stress by counteracting the formation of malondialdehyde (MDA) and protein carbonyl groups (which are indicators of lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation, respectively) and intracellular ROS generation, and by improving the enzymatic activities of catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD). Pre-treatment with QUE also significantly attenuated the inflammatory response induced by PA by reducing the release of key proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1β and TNF-α). Similar to QUE, Q2 (250 nM) also significantly counteracted the PA-provoked increase in intracellular lipid droplets, LDH, and MDA, improving SOD activity and decreasing the release of IL-1β and TNF-α. These results suggest that QUE and Q2 could be considered potential therapeutics for the treatment of the cardiac lipotoxicity that occurs in obesity and metabolic diseases.
Granieri, Maria Concetta;Rocca, Carmine;De Bartolo, Anna;Rago, Vittoria;Romeo, Naomi;Ceramella, Jessica;Sinicropi, Maria Stefania;Angelone, Tommaso
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