AIMS: Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a multifactorial disease that constitutes several distinct phenotypes, including a common cardiometabolic phenotype with obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Treatment options for HFpEF are limited, and development of novel therapeutics is hindered by the paucity of suitable preclinical HFpEF models that recapitulate the complexity of human HFpEF. Metabolic drugs, like Glucagon Like Peptide Receptor Agonist (GLP-1RA) and Sodium Glucose Transporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i), have emerged as promising drugs to restore metabolic perturbations and may have value in the treatment of the cardiometabolic HFpEF phenotype. We aimed to develop a multifactorial HFpEF mouse model that closely resembles the cardiometabolic HFpEF phenotype, and evaluated the GLP-1 RA liraglutide and a SGLT2i dapagliflozin.
METHODS & RESULTS: Aged (18-22 months old) female C57BL/6J mice were fed a standardized chow (CTRL) or high fat diet (HFD) for 12 weeks. After 8 weeks HFD, Angiotensin-II (ANGII), was administered for 4 weeks via osmotic mini-pumps. HFD+ANGII resulted in a cardiometabolic HFpEF phenotype, including obesity, impaired glucose handling and metabolic dysregulation with inflammation. The multiple-hit resulted in typical clinical HFpEF features, including cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis with preserved fractional shortening but with impaired myocardial deformation, atrial enlargement lung congestion, and elevated blood pressures. Treatment with liraglutide attenuated the cardiometabolic dysregulation and improved cardiac function, with reduced cardiac hypertrophy, less myocardial fibrosis, and attenuation of atrial weight, natriuretic peptide levels, and lung congestion. Dapagliflozin treatment improved glucose handling, but had mild effects on the HFpEF phenotype.
CONCLUSIONS: We developed a mouse model that recapitulates the human HFpEF disease, providing a novel opportunity to study disease pathogenesis and development of enhanced therapeutic approaches. We furthermore show that attenuation of cardiometabolic dysregulation may represent a novel therapeutic target for treatment of HFpEF.
TRANSLATIONAL PERSPECTIVE: The failure of many treatment modalities for HFpEF may -at least in part- be explained by the lack of an adequate animal model. The diverse etiology of HFpEF is still largely neglected in pre-clinical research. In this study we developed a murine model that includes advanced age, female sex, in concert with co-morbidities: elevated blood pressure, obesity and T2DM. We demonstrate that this model recapitulates the human cardiometabolic HFpEF phenotype. We showed that contemporary glucose lowering drugs, liraglutide and dapagliflozin, which are both under study for HFpEF, have positive results. Our model may be useful to evaluate novel cardiometabolic, anti-fibrotic, and anti-inflammatory treatments for HFpEF.