In Silico Analysis of Differential Gene Expression in Three Common Rat Models of Diastolic Dysfunction

Raffaele Altara*, Fouad A. Zouein*, Rita Dias Brandao, Saeed N. Bajestani, Alessandro Cataliotti, George W. Booz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Standard therapies for heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) have been unsuccessful, demonstrating that the contribution of the underlying diastolic dysfunction pathophysiology differs from that of systolic dysfunction in heart failure and currently is far from being understood. Complicating the investigation of HFpEF is the contribution of several comorbidities. Here, we selected three established rat models of diastolic dysfunction defined by three major risk factors associated with HFpEF and researched their commonalities and differences. The top differentially expressed genes in the left ventricle of Dahl salt sensitive (Dahl/SS), spontaneous hypertensive heart failure (SHHF), and diabetes 1 induced HFpEF models were derived from published data in Gene Expression Omnibus and used for a comprehensive interpretation of the underlying pathophysiological context of each model. The diversity of the underlying transcriptomic of the heart of each model is clearly observed by the different panel of top regulated genes: the diabetic model has 20 genes in common with the Dahl/SS and 15 with the SHHF models. Advanced analytics performed in Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA (R)) revealed that Dahl/SS heart tissue transcripts triggered by upstream regulators lead to dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophy of heart, arrhythmia, and failure of heart. In the heart of SHHF, a total of 26 genes were closely linked to cardiovascular disease including cardiotoxicity, pericarditis, ST-elevated myocardial infarction, and dilated cardiomyopathy. IPA Upstream Regulator analyses revealed that protection of cardiomyocytes is hampered by inhibition of the ERBB2 plasma membrane-bound receptor tyrosine kinases. Cardioprotective markers such as natriuretic peptide A (NPPA), heat shock 27 kDa protein 1 (HSPB1), and angiogenin (ANG) were upregulated in the diabetes 1 induced model; however, the model showed a different underlying mechanism with a majority of the regulated genes involved in metabolic disorders. In conclusion, our findings suggest that multiple mechanisms may contribute to diastolic dysfunction and HFpEF, and thus drug therapies may need to be guided more by phenotypic characteristics of the cardiac remodeling events than by the underlying molecular processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2018


  • metabolic disease
  • endothelial and microvascular dysfunction
  • inflammation
  • heart failure
  • hypertension

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