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01.12.2017 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 1/2017

The PPAR pan-agonist bezafibrate ameliorates cardiomyopathy in a mouse model of Barth syndrome

Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases > Ausgabe 1/2017
Yan Huang, Corey Powers, Victoria Moore, Caitlin Schafer, Mindong Ren, Colin K. L. Phoon, Jeanne F. James, Alexander V. Glukhov, Sabzali Javadov, Frédéric M. Vaz, John L. Jefferies, Arnold W. Strauss, Zaza Khuchua



The PGC-1α/PPAR axis has been proposed as a potential therapeutic target for several metabolic disorders. The aim was to evaluate the efficacy of the pan-PPAR agonist, bezafibrate, in tafazzin knockdown mice (TazKD), a mouse model of Barth syndrome that exhibits age-dependent dilated cardiomyopathy with left ventricular (LV) dysfunction.


The effect of bezafibrate on cardiac function was evaluated by echocardiography in TazKD mice with or without beta-adrenergic stress. Adrenergic stress by chronic isoproterenol infusion exacerbates the cardiac phenotype in TazKD mice, significantly depressing LV systolic function by 4.5 months of age. Bezafibrate intake over 2 months substantially ameliorates the development of LV systolic dysfunction in isoproterenol-stressed TazKD mice. Without beta-adrenergic stress, TazKD mice develop dilated cardiomyopathy by 7 months of age. Prolonged treatment with suprapharmacological dose of bezafibrate (0.5% in rodent diet) over a 4-month period effectively prevented LV dilation in mice isoproterenol treatment. Bezafibrate increased mitochondrial biogenesis, however also promoted oxidative stress in cardiomyocytes. Surprisingly, improvement of systolic function in bezafibrate-treated mice was accompanied with simultaneous reduction of cardiolipin content and increase of monolysocardiolipin levels in cardiac muscle.


Thus, we demonstrate that bezafibrate has a potent therapeutic effect on preventing cardiac dysfunction in a mouse model of Barth syndrome with obvious implications for treating the human disease. Additional studies are needed to assess the potential benefits of PPAR agonists in humans with Barth syndrome.
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