Skeletal myopathy in a rat model of postmenopausal heart failure with preserved ejection fraction

Rachel C. Kelley, Lauren Betancourt, Andrea M. Noriega, Suzanne C. Brinson, Nuria Curbelo-Bermudez, Dongwoo Hahn, Ravi A. Kumar, Eliza Balazic, Derek R. Muscato, Terence E. Ryan, Robbert J. van der Pijl, Shengyi Shen, Coen A.C. Ottenheijm, Leonardo F. Ferreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) accounts for ∼50% of all patients with heart failure and frequently affects postmenopausal women. The HFpEF condition is phenotype-specific, with skeletal myopathy that is crucial for disease development and progression. However, most of the current preclinical models of HFpEF have not addressed the postmenopausal phenotype. We sought to advance a rodent model of postmenopausal HFpEF and examine skeletal muscle abnormalities therein. Female, ovariectomized, spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) were fed a high-fat, high-sucrose diet to induce HFpEF. Controls were female sham-operated Wistar-Kyoto rats on a lean diet. In a complementary, longer-term cohort, controls were female sham-operated SHRs on a lean diet to evaluate the effect of strain difference in the model. Our model developed key features of HFpEF that included increased body weight, glucose intolerance, hypertension, cardiac hypertrophy, diastolic dysfunction, exercise intolerance, and elevated plasma cytokines. In limb skeletal muscle, HFpEF decreased specific force by 15%- 30% (P < 0.05) and maximal mitochondrial respiration by 40%-55% (P < 0.05), increased oxidized glutathione by approximately twofold (P < 0.05), and tended to increase mitochondrial H2O2 emission (P = 0.10). Muscle fiber cross-sectional area, markers of mitochondrial content, and indices of capillarity were not different between control and HFpEF in our short-term cohort. Overall, our preclinical model of postmenopausal HFpEF recapitulates several key features of the disease. This new model reveals contractile and mitochondrial dysfunction and redox imbalance that are potential contributors to abnormal metabolism, exercise intolerance, and diminished quality of life in patients with postmenopausal HFpEF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-125
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • High-fat diet
  • Hypertension
  • Mitochondria
  • Muscle weakness
  • Oxidants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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