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Circ Res. 2001 May 11;88(9):918-24.

Long-chain acyl-coenzyme A esters and fatty acids directly link metabolism to K(ATP) channels in the heart.

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  • 1Institute of Physiology, Marburg University, Marburg, Germany.


ATP-sensitive K (K(ATP)) channels are inhibited by cytosolic ATP, a defining property that implicitly links these channels to cellular metabolism. Here we report a direct link between fatty acid metabolism and K(ATP) channels in cardiac muscle cells. Long-chain (LC) acyl-coenzyme A (CoA) esters are synthesized from fatty acids and serve as the principal metabolic substrates of the heart. We have studied the effects of LC acyl-CoA esters and LC fatty acids on K(ATP) channels of isolated guinea pig ventricular myocytes and compared them with the effects of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP(2)). Application of oleoyl-CoA (0.2 or 1 micromol/L), a naturally occurring acyl-CoA ester, to the cytosolic side of excised patches completely prevented rundown of K(ATP) channels, but not of Kir2 channels. The open probability of K(ATP) channels measured in the presence of oleoyl-CoA or PIP(2) was voltage dependent, increasing with depolarization. Oleoyl-CoA greatly reduced the ATP sensitivity of K(ATP) channels. At a concentration of 2 micromol/L, oleoyl-CoA increased the half-maximal inhibitory concentration of ATP >200-fold. The time course of the decrease in ATP sensitivity was much faster during application of oleoyl-CoA than during application of PIP(2). The effects of PIP(2), but not of oleoyl-CoA, were inhibited by increasing Ca(2+) to 1 mmol/L. Oleate (C18:1; 10 micromol/L), the precursor of oleoyl-CoA, inhibited K(ATP) channels activated by oleoyl-COA: Palmitoleoyl-CoA and palmitoleate (C16:1) exerted similar reciprocal effects. These findings indicate that LC fatty acids and their CoA-linked derivatives may be key physiological modulators of K(ATP) channel activity in the heart.

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