Background: Based on animal experiments and limited data from the few human trials, alternate-day fasting (ADF) resulted in weight loss, prolonged life, reduced metabolic risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and reduced prevalence of age-related diseases. The present study is the first comprehensive examination of the long-term effects of ADF on general cardiovascular fitness in rats. Methods and Results: Four-month-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were started on ADF or continued on ad libitum diets and followed for 6 months with serial echocardiography. A comprehensive hemodynamic evaluation including a combined dobutamine-volume stress test was performed at the end of the study, and hearts were harvested for histological assessment. The 6-month-long ADF diet resulted in a 9% reduction (P < .01) of cardiomyocyte diameter and 3-fold increase in interstitial myocardial fibrosis. Left ventricular chamber size was not affected by ADF and ejection fraction was not reduced, but left atrial diameter was increased 16%, and the ratio of early (E) and late atrial (A) waves, in Doppler-measured mitral flow was reduced (P < .01). Pressure-volume loop analyses revealed a "stiff" heart during diastole in ADF rats, whereas combined dobutamine and volume loading showed a significant reduction in left ventricular diastolic compliance and a lack of increase in systolic pump function, indicating a diminished cardiac reserve. Conclusion: Chronic ADF in rats results in development of diastolic dysfunction with diminished cardiac reserve. ADF is a novel and unique experimental model of diet-induced diastolic dysfunction. The deleterious effect of ADF in rats suggests that additional studies of ADF effects on cardiovascular functions in humans are warranted.
- Diastolic dysfunction
- animal model
- heart failure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine