Diet-induced obesity causes long QT and reduces transcription of voltage-gated potassium channels

Haiyan Huang, Vaibhav Amin, Michael Gurin, Elaine Wan, Edward Thorp, Shunichi Homma, John P. Morrow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


In humans, obesity is associated with long QT, increased frequency of premature ventricular complexes, and sudden cardiac death. The mechanisms of the pro-arrhythmic electrophysiologic remodeling of obesity are poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that there is decreased expression of voltage-gated potassium channels in the obese heart, leading to long QT. Using implanted telemeters, we found that diet-induced obese (DIO) wild-type mice have impaired cardiac repolarization, demonstrated by long QT, as well as more frequent ventricular ectopy, similar to obese humans. DIO mice have reduced protein and mRNA levels of the potassium channel Kv1.5 caused by a reduction of the transcription factor cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB) in DIO hearts. We found that CREB knock-down by siRNA reduces Kv1.5, CREB binds to the Kv1.5 promoter in the heart, and CREB increases transcription of mouse and human Kv1.5 promoters. The reduction in CREB protein during lipotoxicity can be rescued by inhibiting protein kinase D (PKD). Our results identify a mechanism for obesity-induced electrophysiologic remodeling in the heart, namely PKD-induced reduction of CREB, which in turn decreases expression of the potassium channel Kv1.5.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-158
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013


  • Arrhythmia
  • Cyclic AMP response element binding protein
  • Kv1.5
  • Obesity
  • Protein kinase D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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