Pioglitazone increases PGC1-α signaling within chronically ischemic myocardium

Tammy A. Butterick, Laura L Hocum Stone, Cayla Duffy, Christopher Holley, Jesús A. Cabrera, Melanie Crampton, Herbert B Ward, Rosemary F Kelly, Edward O McFalls

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13 Scopus citations


The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-γ drug pioglitazone (PIO) has been shown to protect tissue against oxidant stress. In a swine model of chronic myocardial ischemia, we tested whether PIO increases PGC1-α signaling and the expression of mitochondrial antioxidant peptides. Eighteen pigs underwent a thoracotomy with placement of a fixed constrictor around the LAD artery. At 8 weeks, diet was supplemented with either PIO (3 mg/kg) or placebo for 4 weeks. Regional myocardial function and blood flow were determined at the time of the terminal study. PGC1-α expression was quantified from nuclear membranes by gels and respiration, oxidant stress markers and proteomics by iTRAQ were determined from isolated mitochondria. In the chronically ischemic LAD region, wall thickening from the PIO and control groups was 42 ± 6 and 45 ± 5%, respectively (NS) with no intergroup differences in basal blood flow (0.72 ± 0.04 versus 0.74 ± 0.04 ml/min g, respectively; NS). In the PIO group, the expression of nuclear bound PGC1-α was higher (11.3 ± 2.6 versus 4.4 ± 1.4 AU; P < 0.05) and the content of mitochondrial antioxidant peptides including superoxide dismutase 2, aldose reductase, glutathione S-transferase and thioredoxin reductase were greater than controls. Although isolated mitochondria from the PIO group showed lower state 3 respiration (102 ± 13 versus 161 ± 22 nmol/min mg; P < 0.05), no differences in oxidant stress were noted by protein carbonyl (1.7 ± 0.7 versus 1.1 ± 0.1 nmol/mg). Chronic pioglitazone does not reduce regional myocardial blood flow or function in a swine model of chronic myocardial ischemia, but may have an important role in increasing expression of antioxidant proteins through PGC1-α signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number37
JournalBasic research in cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was supported in part, by grants from a VA Merit Review (# 5I01BX000760-05) and The Lillehei Foundation (High-Risk High Reward). Dr. Tammy Butterick is a recipient of a Career Development Award from the VA Office of Research & Development (BX10866). The contents of this work do not represent the views of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs of the United States Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2016.


  • Antioxidants
  • Chronic myocardial ischemia
  • Glitazones
  • Mitochondria
  • PGC1-alpha
  • Proteomics


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