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Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2002 Apr;29(4):339-45.

Transcriptional activation of energy metabolic switches in the developing and hypertrophied heart.

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Center for Cardiovascular Research, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


1. The present review focuses on the gene regulatory mechanisms involved in the control of cardiac mitochondrial energy production in the developing heart and following the onset of pathological cardiac hypertrophy. Particular emphasis has been given to the mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation (FAO) pathway and its control by members of the nuclear receptor transcription factor superfamily. 2. During perinatal cardiac development, the heart undergoes a switch in energy substrate preference from glucose in the fetal period to fatty acids following birth. This energy metabolic switch is paralleled by changes in the expression of the enzymes and protein involved in the respective pathways. 3. The postnatal activation of the mitochondrial energy production pathway involves the induced expression of nuclear genes encoding FAO enzymes, as well as other proteins important in mitochondrial energy transduction/production pathways. Recent evidence indicates that this postnatal gene regulatory effect involves the actions of the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha) and its coactivator the PPARgamma coactivator 1 (PGC-1). 4. The PGC-1 not only activates PPARalpha to induce FAO pathway enzymes in the postnatal heart, but it also plays a pivotal role in the control of cardiac mitochondrial number and function. Thus, PGC-1 plays a master regulatory role in the high-capacity mitochondrial energy production system in the adult mammalian heart. 5. During the development of pathological forms of cardiac hypertrophy, such as that due to pressure overload, the myocardial energy substrate preference shifts back towards the fetal pattern, with a corresponding reduction in the expression of FAO enzyme genes. This metabolic shift is due to the deactivation of the PPARalpha/PGC-1 complex. 6. The deactivation of PPARalpha and PGC-1 during the development of cardiac hypertrophy involves regulation at several levels, including a reduction in the expression of these genes, as well as post-translational effects due to the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Future studies aim at defining whether this transcriptional 'switch' and its effects on myocardial metabolism are adaptive or maladaptive in the hypertrophied heart.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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