Cardiolipin deficiency elevates susceptibility to a lipotoxic hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Laura K. Cole, Edgard M. Mejia, Genevieve C. Sparagna, Marilyne Vandel, Bo Xiang, Xianlin Han, Nikolaos Dedousis, Brett A. Kaufman, Vernon W. Dolinsky, Grant M. Hatch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Cardiolipin (CL) is a unique tetra-acyl phospholipid localized to the inner mitochondrial membrane and essential for normal respiratory function. It has been previously reported that the failing human heart and several rodent models of cardiac pathology have a selective loss of CL. A rare genetic disease, Barth syndrome (BTHS), is similarly characterized by a cardiomyopathy due to reduced levels of cardiolipin. A mouse model of cardiolipin deficiency was recently developed by knocking-down the cardiolipin biosynthetic enzyme tafazzin (TAZ KD). These mice develop an age-dependent cardiomyopathy due to mitochondrial dysfunction. Since reduced mitochondrial capacity in the heart may promote the accumulation of lipids, we examined whether cardiolipin deficiency in the TAZ KD mice promotes the development of a lipotoxic cardiomyopathy. In addition, we investigated whether treatment with resveratrol, a small cardioprotective nutraceutical, attenuated the aberrant lipid accumulation and associated cardiomyopathy. Mice deficient in tafazzin and the wildtype littermate controls were fed a low-fat diet, or a high-fat diet with or without resveratrol for 16 weeks. In the absence of obesity, TAZ KD mice developed a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy characterized by reduced left-ventricle (LV) volume (~36%) and 30–50% increases in isovolumetric contraction (IVCT) and relaxation times (IVRT). The progression of cardiac hypertrophy with tafazzin-deficiency was associated with several underlying pathological processes including altered mitochondrial complex I mediated respiration, elevated oxidative damage (~50% increase in reactive oxygen species, ROS), the accumulation of triglyceride (~250%) as well as lipids associated with lipotoxicity (diacylglyceride ~70%, free-cholesterol ~44%, ceramide N:16–35%) compared to the low-fat fed controls. Treatment of TAZ KD mice with resveratrol maintained normal LV volumes and preserved systolic function of the heart. The beneficial effect of resveratrol on cardiac function was accompanied by a significant improvement in mitochondrial respiration, ROS production and oxidative damage to the myocardium. Resveratrol treatment also attenuated the development of cardiac steatosis in tafazzin-deficient mice through reduced de novo fatty acid synthesis. These results indicate for the first time that cardiolipin deficiency promotes the development of a hypertrophic lipotoxic cardiomyopathy. Furthermore, we determined that dietary resveratrol attenuates the cardiomyopathy by reducing ROS, cardiac steatosis and maintaining mitochondrial function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-34
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Hypertrophy
  • Lipotoxicity
  • Mitochondria
  • Oxidative stress
  • Resveratrol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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