Recurrent Exposure to Subclinical Lipopolysaccharide Increases Mortality and Induces Cardiac Fibrosis in Mice

… losartan at 20 mg/kg/day. Cutaneous pulse oximetry was measured with a MouseOx
Pulse Oximeter from Starr Life Sciences (Oakmont, PA), with MouseOx software
to record oxygen saturation. Blood was collected at the time … Background Circulating subclinical lipopolysaccharide (LPS) occurs in health and disease. Ingesting high fatty meals increases LPS that cause metabolic endotoxemia. Subclinical LPS in periodontal disease may impair endothelial function. The heart may be targeted as cardiac cells express TLR4, the LPS receptor. It was hypothesized that recurrent exposure to subclinical LPS increases mortality and causes cardiac fibrosis. Methods C57Bl/6 mice were injected with intraperitoneal saline (control), low dose LPS (0.1 or 1 mg/kg), or moderate dose LPS (10 or 20 mg/kg), once a week for 3 months. Left ventricular (LV) function (echocardiography), hemodynamics (tail cuff pressure) and electrocardiograms (telemetry) were measured. Cardiac fibrosis was assessed by picrosirius red staining and LV expression of fibrosis related genes (QRT-PCR). Adult cardiac fibroblasts were isolated and exposed to LPS. Results LPS injections transiently increased heart rate and blood pressure (<6 hours) and mildly decreased LV function with full recovery by 24 hours. Mice tolerated weekly LPS for 2–3 months with no change in activity, appearance, appetite, weight, blood pressure, LV function, oximetry, or blood chemistries. Mortality increased after 60–90 days with moderate, but not low dose LPS. Arrhythmias occurred a few hours before death. LV collagen fraction area increased dose-dependently from 3.0±0.5% (SEM) in the saline control group, to 5.6±0.5% with low dose LPS and 9.7±0.9% with moderate dose LPS (P<0.05 moderate vs low dose LPS, and each LPS dose vs control). LPS increased LV expression of collagen Iα1, collagen IIIα1, MMP2, MMP9, TIMP1, periostin and IL-6 (P<0.05 moderate vs low dose LPS and vs control). LPS increased α-SMA immunostaining of myofibroblasts. LPS dose-dependently increased IL-6 in isolated adult cardiac fibroblasts. Conclusions Recurrent exposure to subclinical LPS increases mortality and induces cardiac fibrosis.