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Ann Med. 2007;39(8):594-607.

Alterations in energy metabolism in cardiomyopathies.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Research Group, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Despite the fact that the heart requires huge amounts of energy to sustain contractile function, it has limited energy reserves and must therefore continually produce large amounts of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to sustain function. Fatty acids are the primary energy substrate of the adult heart, with more than 60% of the energy normally obtained from the oxidation of fatty acids, the remainder coming from the metabolism of carbohydrates. Alterations in both the rates of ATP production and the type of energy substrate used by the heart can have consequences on contractile function, as well as on its ability to respond to energetic stresses. Switches in myocardial substrate utilization and energy production rates have been shown to occur in various cardiomyopathies, as well as in any subsequent heart failure. Heart failure is characterized by an inefficient pumping of the heart, which fails to meet the energy requirements of the body. A number of cardiomyopathies can lead to heart failure. This paper will review the alterations in energy metabolism that occur in a number cardiomyopathies, including ischemic and diabetic cardiomyopathies, as well as hypertrophic cardiomyopathies resulting from mutations in enzymes involved in energy metabolism, such as 5' adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK).

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