Hydrogen sulfide alleviates cardiac contractile dysfunction in an Akt2-knockout murine model of insulin resistance: role of mitochondrial injury and apoptosis.

Research paper by Nan N Hu, Maolong M Dong, Jun J Ren

Indexed on: 14 Mar '14Published on: 14 Mar '14Published in: American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology


Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a toxic gas now being recognized as an endogenous signaling molecule in multiple organ systems, in particular, the cardiovascular system. H2S is known to regulate cardiac function and protect against ischemic injury. However, little information is available regarding the effect of H2S on cardiac function in insulin resistance. This study was designed to examine the impact of H2S supplementation on cardiac function using an Akt2 knockout model of insulin resistance. Wild-type and Akt2 knockout mice were treated with NaHS (50 μM·kg(-1)·day(-1) ip for 10 days) prior to evaluation of echocardiographic, cardiomyocyte contractile, and intracellular Ca(2+) properties, apoptosis, and mitochondrial damage. Our results revealed that Akt2 ablation led to overtly enlarged ventricular end-systolic diameter, reduced myocardial and cardiomyocyte contractile function, and disrupted intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis and apoptosis, the effects of which were ameliorated by H2S. Furthermore, Akt2 knockout displayed upregulated apoptotic protein markers (Bax, caspase-3, caspase-9, and caspace-12) and mitochondrial damage (reduced aconitase activity and NAD(+), elevated cytochrome-c release from mitochondria) along with reduced phosphorylation of PTEN, Akt, and GSK3β in the absence of changes in pan protein expression, the effects of which were abolished or significantly ameliorated by H2S treatment. In vitro data revealed that H2S-induced beneficial effect against Akt2 ablation was obliterated by mitochondrial uncoupling. Taken together, our findings suggest the H2S may reconcile Akt2 knockout-induced myocardial contractile defect and intracellular Ca(2+) mishandling, possibly via attenuation of mitochondrial injury and apoptosis.