Quercetin Prevents Diastolic Dysfunction Induced by a High-Cholesterol Diet: Role of Oxidative Stress and Bioenergetics in Hyperglycemic Rats

Alterations in cardiac energy metabolism play a key role in the pathogenesis of diabetic cardiomyopathy. Hypercholesterolemia associated with bioenergetic impairment and oxidative stress has not been well characterized in the cardiac function under glycemic control deficiency conditions. This work aimed to determine the cardioprotective effects of quercetin (QUE) against the damage induced by a high-cholesterol (HC) diet in hyperglycemic rats, addressing intracellular antioxidant mechanisms and bioenergetics. Quercetin reduced HC-induced alterations in the lipid profile and glycemia in rats. In addition, QUE attenuated cardiac diastolic dysfunction (increased E:A ratio), prevented cardiac cholesterol accumulation, and reduced the increase in HC-induced myocyte density. Moreover, QUE reduced HC-induced oxidative stress by preventing the decrease in GSH/GSSG ratio, Nrf2 nuclear translocation, HO-1 expression, and antioxidant enzymatic activity. Quercetin also counteracted HCinduced bioenergetic impairment, preventing a reduction in ATP levels and alterations in PGC-1α, UCP2, and PPARγ expression. In conclusion, the mechanisms that support the cardioprotective effect of QUE in rats with HC might be mediated by the upregulation of antioxidant mechanisms and improved bioenergetics on the heart. Targeting bioenergetics with QUE can be used as a pharmacological approach to modulate structural and functional changes of the heart under hypercholesterolemic and hyperglycemic conditions.