Improving insulin sensitivity via activation of PPAR-γ increases telomerase activity in the heart of OLETF rats

Naoki Makino, Toyoki Maeda, Jun Ichi Oyama, Yosihiro Higuchi, Koji Mimori

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43 Citations (Scopus)


This study was conducted to examine telomere biology in terms of improving insulin sensitivity in a type 2 diabetic animal model: Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima fatty (OLETF) rats. To improve insulin sensitivity, pioglitazone (PG; 10 mg•kg-1•day-1) was administrated to OLETF rats from 20 to 40 wk of age, and the effects of treatment were compared with those in untreated OLETF or control Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka fatty rats. At the end of the study, the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance significantly increased in OLETF rats but decreased in OLETF rats treated with PG. No shortening of telomere length was observed in the heart tissue of OLETF rats, whereas telomerase activity was decreased in OLETF heart tissue. The mRNA expression of both telomerase reverse transcriptase and telomere repeat binding factor 2 was downregulated in the hearts of OLETF rats. The protein expression of phospho-Akt, insulin-like growth factor, and endothelial nitric oxide synthase was reduced in OLETF rats. On the other hand, myocardial matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression was elevated in OLETF rats. The changes observed in OLETF rats were inhibited by PG treatment. However, protein and mRNA expression of Sirt1, a lifespan modulator, were attenuated in OLETF rat hearts, although they were enhanced in OLETF rats with PG treatement. Myocardial fibrosis was less extensive and diastolic dysfunction more greatly ameliorated in PG-treated OLETF rats than in OLETF rats. These findings suggest that improving insulin sensitivity via the activation of peroxisom proliferator-activated receptor-γ may exert regulatory effects on cardiac telomere biology and may have desirable morphological and functional effects on the diabetic heart.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H2188-H2195
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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