Pulmonary Hypertension in Obese Mice Is Accompanied by a Reduction in PPAR-γ Expression in Pulmonary Artery
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Obesity and insulin resistance (IR) are well-studied risk factors for systemic cardiovascular disease, but their impact on pulmonary hypertension (PH) is not well clarified. This study aims to investigate if diet-induced obesity induces PH and if peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR-γ) and/or endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress are involved in this process. Mice were maintained on a high-fat diet (HFD) for 4 months, and IR and PH were confirmed. In a separate group, after 4 months of HFD, mice were treated with pioglitazone (PIO) or 4-phenylbutyric acid for the last month. The results demonstrated that HFD for at least 4 months is able to increase pulmonary artery pressure, which is maintained, and this animal model can be used to investigate the link between IR and PH, without changes in ER stress in the pulmonary artery. There was also a reduction in circulating adiponectin and in perivascular adiponectin expression in the pulmonary artery, associated with a reduction in PPAR-γ expression. Treatment with PIO improved IR and PH and reversed the lower expression of adiponectin and PPAR-γ in the pulmonary artery, highlighting this drug as potential benefit for this poorly recognized complication of obesity.