BACKGROUND: Exercise causes physiological cardiac hypertrophy and benefits the diabetic heart. Mammalian switch-independent 3A (mSin3A) and histone deacetylases (HDACs) 1 and 2 regulate hypertrophic genes through associations with the DNA binding proteins repressor element-1 silencing transcription factor (REST) and O-linked beta-N-acetylglucosamine transferase (OGT). O-linked beta-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) is a glucose derivative that is chronically elevated in diabetic hearts, and a previous study showed that exercise reduces cardiac O-GlcNAc. We hypothesized that O-GlcNAc and OGT would physically associate with mSin3A/HDAC1/2 in the heart, and that this interaction would be altered by diabetes and exercise. METHODS: 8-week-old type 2 diabetic db/db (db) and non-diabetic C57 mice were randomized to treadmill exercise or sedentary groups for 1 or 4 weeks. RESULTS: O-GlcNAc was significantly higher in db hearts and increased with exercise. Db hearts showed lower levels of mSin3A, HDAC1, and HDAC2 protein, but higher levels of HDAC2 mRNA and HDAC1/2 deacetylase activity. Elevated HDAC activity was associated with significantly blunted expression of alpha-actin and brain natriuretic peptide in db hearts. In sedentary db hearts, co-immunoprecipitation assays showed that mSin3A and OGT were less associated with HDAC1 and HDAC2, respectively, compared to sedentary C57 controls; however, exercise removed these differences. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that diabetes and exercise oppositely affect interactions between pro-hypertrophic transcription factors, and suggest that an increase in total cardiac O-GlcNAc is a mechanism by which exercise benefits type 2 diabetic hearts.
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