Some forms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) are caused by mutations in cardiac sarcomeric genes, but environmental factors are believed to influence the hypertrophic response. A highly variable but potentially significant environmental factor is diet. Since soy-rich diets have been speculated to confer protection against cardiovascular disease, Stauffer et al. have explored the influence of a soy diet on cardiac growth and function in a transgenic mouse model of HCM. They report that mice fed a soy diet exhibited significantly worse HCM than mice fed a soy-free (milk protein) diet. This study provides the first evidence of an environmental modifier — diet — on the hypertrophic phenotype and has implications for the way in which disease phenotypes are assessed in genetically altered murine models of disease.
Cathy J. Hatcher, Craig T. Basson
HCM mice fed a phytoestrogen-supplemented soy diet versus a soy-free casein diet.