DOI: 10.2337/db23-23-or ISSN: 0012-1797

23-OR: Reduction in Insulin Uncovers a Novel Effect of VEGFB on Cardiac Substrate Utilization

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Internal Medicine

VEGFB is known to up-regulate FA delivery through its effect on EC FA transporters. In its absence, intracellular lipid accumulation was reduced. Paradoxically, cardiac-specific overexpression of VEGFB demonstrated a lowered heparin-releasable lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity with reduced FA utilization in vivo. Currently, the mechanism behind this in vivo metabolic effect of VEGFB on cardiac LPL is unclear. In transgenic (Tg) hearts, the vectorial transfer of LPL from myocytes to the vascular lumen is obstructed, resulting in LPL buildup within cardiomyocytes. Given that insulin is known to inhibit LPL translocation and thus FA metabolism in the heart, this observation is likely a secondary effect of VEGFB on vascular development with its associated augmentation of insulin delivery. We tested whether lowering of insulin by fasting would validate our hypothesis. WT fasted hearts enhanced their heparin-releasable LPL activity in an attempt to switch substrate utilization to FA. Intriguingly, this increase in LPL activity following fasting was even more dramatic in Tg hearts. Thus, with insulin deficiency following fasting, VEGFB works unimpeded to facilitate LPL movement. This effect occurred through the activation of p38 MAPK. PET imaging using 18FTHA revealed augmented LPL-derived FA and impaired FDG glucose uptake in the Tg fasted heart. Additionally, this increased delivery of LPL-derived FA correlated to augmented mitochondrial oxidation determined by high resolution oxygraphy. We examined whether this property of VEGFB on FA uptake and oxidation could be useful following diabetes, with its attendant loss of metabolic flexibility. Unexpectedly, in Tg hearts, diabetes inhibited myocyte VEGFB gene expression and protein secretion together with its downstream receptor signaling. Our data suggests that following diabetes, loss of VEGFB action may contribute towards the metabolic inflexibility, lipotoxicity and diabetic cardiomyopathy.


R.Shang: None. C.Lee: None. B.Hussein: None. B.Rodrigues: None.


Canadian Institutes of Health Research (PJT180558); Diabetes Canada (OG3215585BR)

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