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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5724046, 17 pages
Research Article

Differential Regulation of Cardiac Function and Intracardiac Cytokines by Rapamycin in Healthy and Diabetic Rats

1Department of Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA
2Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Affairs Hospital, Columbia, MO, USA
3Novopyxis, Boston, MA, USA
4Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Lakshmi Pulakat

Received 12 November 2016; Revised 17 January 2017; Accepted 14 February 2017; Published 20 March 2017

Academic Editor: Anindita Das

Copyright © 2017 Christian Luck et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Diabetes is comorbid with cardiovascular disease and impaired immunity. Rapamycin improves cardiac functions and extends lifespan by inhibiting the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). However, in diabetic murine models, Rapamycin elevates hyperglycemia and reduces longevity. Since Rapamycin is an immunosuppressant, we examined whether Rapamycin (750 μg/kg/day) modulates intracardiac cytokines, which affect the cardiac immune response, and cardiac function in male lean (ZL) and diabetic obese Zucker (ZO) rats. Rapamycin suppressed levels of fasting triglycerides, insulin, and uric acid in ZO but increased glucose. Although Rapamycin improved multiple diastolic parameters (E/E′, E′/A′, E/Vp) initially, these improvements were reversed or absent in ZO at the end of treatment, despite suppression of cardiac fibrosis and phosphoSer473Akt. Intracardiac cytokine protein profiling and Ingenuity® Pathway Analysis indicated suppression of intracardiac immune defense in ZO, in response to Rapamycin treatment in both ZO and ZL. Rapamycin increased fibrosis in ZL without increasing phosphoSer473Akt and differentially modulated anti-fibrotic IL-10, IFNγ, and GM-CSF in ZL and ZO. Therefore, fundamental difference in intracardiac host defense between diabetic ZO and healthy ZL, combined with differential regulation of intracardiac cytokines by Rapamycin in ZO and ZL hearts, underlies differential cardiac outcomes of Rapamycin treatment in health and diabetes.