Spermidine Supplementation and Voluntary Activity Differentially Affect Obesity-Related Structural Changes in the Mouse Lung

Publication from Health
Bioanalytik und Metabolomics

Nancy Ahrendt, Tobias Steingrüber, Alexandrajces, Elena Lopez-Rodriguez, Tobias Eisenberg, Christoph Magnes, Frank Madeo, Simon Sedej, Andreas Schmiedl, Matthias Ochs, Christian Mühlfeld, and Julia Schipke

American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology , 8/2020


Obesity is associated with lung function impairment and respiratory diseases; however, the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms are still elusive, and therapeutic options are limited. This study examined the effects of prolonged excess fat intake on lung mechanics and microstructure and tested spermidine supplementation and physical activity as intervention strategies. C57BL/6N mice fed control diet (10% fat) or high-fat diet (HFD; 60% fat) were left untreated or were supplemented with 3 mM spermidine, had access to running wheels for voluntary activity, or a combination of both. After 30 wk, lung mechanics was assessed, and left lungs were analyzed by design-based stereology. HFD exerted minor effects on lung mechanics and resulted in higher body weight and elevated lung, air, and septal volumes. The number of alveoli was higher in HFD-fed animals. This was accompanied by an increase in epithelial, but not endothelial, surface area. Moreover, air-blood barrier and endothelium were significantly thicker. Neither treatment affected HFD-related body weights. Spermidine lowered lung volumes as well as endothelial and air-blood barrier thicknesses toward control levels and substantially increased the endothelial surface area under HFD. Activity resulted in decreased volumes of lung, septa, and septal compartments but did not affect vascular changes in HFD-fed mice. The combination treatment showed no additive effect. In conclusion, excess fat consumption induced alveolar capillary remodeling indicative of impaired perfusion and gas diffusion. Spermidine alleviated obesity-related endothelial alterations, indicating a beneficial effect, whereas physical activity reduced lung volumes apparently by other, possibly systemic effects.

Keywords: diet-induced obesity; lung ultrastructure; physical activity; polyamine spermidine