Detailed transcriptomics analysis of the effect of dietary fatty acids on gene expression in the heart

Anastasia Georgiadi, Mark V Boekschoten, Michael Müller, Sander Kersten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Fatty acids comprise the primary energy source for the heart and are mainly taken up via hydrolysis of circulating triglyceride-rich lipoproteins. While most of the fatty acids entering the cardiomyocyte are oxidized, a small portion is involved in altering gene transcription to modulate cardiometabolic functions. So far, no in vivo model has been developed enabling study of the transcriptional effects of specific fatty acids in the intact heart. In the present study, mice were given a single oral dose of synthetic triglycerides composed of one single fatty acid. Hearts were collected 6 h thereafter and used for whole genome gene expression profiling. Experiments were conducted in wild-type and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)α-/- mice to allow exploration of the specific contribution of PPARα. It was found that: 1) C18:3 had the most pronounced effect on cardiac gene expression. 2) The largest similarity in gene regulation was observed between C18:2 and C18:3. Large similarity was also observed between PPARα agonist Wy14643 and C22:6. 3) Many genes were regulated by one particular treatment only. Genes regulated by one particular treatment showed large functional divergence. 4) The majority of genes responding to fatty acid treatment were regulated in a PPARα-dependent manner, emphasizing the importance of PPARα in mediating transcriptional regulation by fatty acids in the heart. 5) Several genes were robustly regulated by all or many of the fatty acids studied, mostly representing well-described targets of PPARs (e.g., Acot1, Angptl4, Ucp3) but also including Zbtb16/PLZF, a transcription factor crucial for natural killer T cell function. 6) Deletion and activation of PPARα had a major effect on expression of numerous genes involved in metabolism and immunity. Our analysis demonstrates the marked impact of dietary fatty acids on gene regulation in the heart via PPARα.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-361
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiological Genomics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2012


  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Fatty Acids
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Linoleic Acid
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Myocardium
  • Oleic Acid
  • PPAR alpha
  • Pyrimidines
  • alpha-Linolenic Acid
  • Heart
  • microarray

Cite this