Nature and Science of Sleep (Dec 2021)

High-Fat Diet-Induced Mitochondrial Dysfunction Promotes Genioglossus Injury – A Potential Mechanism for Obstructive Sleep Apnea with Obesity

  • Chen Q,
  • Han X,
  • Chen M,
  • Zhao B,
  • Sun B,
  • Sun L,
  • Zhang W,
  • Yu L,
  • Liu Y

Journal volume & issue
Vol. Volume 13
pp. 2203 – 2219


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Qingqing Chen,1,2 Xinxin Han,2 Meihua Chen,2,3 Bingjiao Zhao,1,2 Bingjing Sun,1,2 Liangyan Sun,1,2 Weihua Zhang,1,2 Liming Yu,1,2 Yuehua Liu1,2 1Department of Orthodontics, Shanghai Stomatological Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 2Shanghai Key Laboratory of Craniomaxillofacial Development and Diseases, Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Periodontology, Shanghai Stomatological Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of ChinaCorrespondence: Yuehua Liu; Liming YuShanghai Stomatological Hospital, Fudan University, No. 356 East Beijing Road, Shanghai, 200001, People’s Republic of ChinaTel +86 2163298475Fax +86 2163614515Email [email protected]; [email protected]: Obesity is a worldwide metabolic disease and a critical risk factor for several chronic conditions. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an important complication of obesity. With the soaring morbidity of obesity, the prevalence of OSA has markedly increased. However, the underlying mechanism of the high relevance between obesity and OSA has not been elucidated. This study investigated the effects of obesity on the structure and function of the genioglossus to explore the possible mechanisms involved in OSA combined with obesity.Methods: Six-week-old male C57BL/6J mice were fed high-fat diet (HFD, 60% energy) or normal diet (Control, 10% energy) for 16 weeks. The muscle fibre structure and electromyography (EMG) activity of genioglossus were measured. The ultrastructure and function of mitochondrial, oxidative damage and apoptosis in genioglossus were detected by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), qPCR, Western blotting, immunohistochemistry and TUNEL staining. We further studied the influence of palmitic acid (PA) on the proliferation and myogenic differentiation of C2C12 myoblasts, as well as mitochondrial function, oxidative stress, and apoptosis in C2C12 myotubes.Results: Compared with the control, the number of muscle fibres was decreased, the fibre type was remarkably changed, and the EMG activity had declined in genioglossus. In addition, a HFD also reduced mitochondria quantity and function, induced excessive oxidative stress and increased apoptosis in genioglossus. In vitro, PA treatment significantly inhibited the proliferation and myogenic differentiation of C2C12 myoblasts. Moreover, PA decreased the mitochondrial membrane potential, upregulated mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, and activated the mitochondrial-related apoptotic pathway in myotubes.Conclusion: Our findings suggest that a HFD caused genioglossus injury in obese mice. The mitochondrial dysfunction and the accompanying oxidative stress were involved in the genioglossus injury, which may provide potential therapeutic targets for OSA with obesity.Keywords: obesity, obstructive sleep apnea, genioglossus, muscle, mitochondria