Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide. Diabetic cardiomyopathy (DM) is the deterioration of the myocardial function and morphology produced by the altered glucose metabolism imposed in diabetes. This process of cardiac deterioration involves the generation of oxidative species. In the diabetic heart, several sources contribute to the observed oxidative stress, such as xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR), nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), nitrogen oxidases (NOX), mitochondria, and uncoupled nitric oxide synthases (NOS). A direct consequence of the increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is NOS uncoupling. This is the aftermath of the oxidation of tetrahydrobioterin (BH4), an essential cofactor for NOS activity. When NOS is uncoupled, its activity is redirected toward the production of superoxide, instead of nitric oxide (NO), further contributing to the oxidative process. This nitroso-redox disarrangement has a direct impact on the excitation-contraction-coupling machinery of the myocyte, in the mitochondrial stability impairing energy production and favoring apoptosis, myocardial fibrosis, ultimately reducing cardiac function. This review focuses on the impact of superoxide sources in the diabetic heart and the pharmacological approaches that are currently under investigation as possible therapeutic tools.
Part of the book: Free Radicals and Diseases