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Compr Physiol. 2015 Apr;5(2):667-86. doi: 10.1002/cphy.c140041.

Metabolic shifts during aging and pathology.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, State University of New York at Buffalo, NY.


The heart is a very special organ in the body and has a high requirement for metabolism due to its constant workload. As a consequence, to provide a consistent and sufficient energy a high steady-state demand of metabolism is required by the heart. When delicately balanced mechanisms are changed by physiological or pathophysiological conditions, the whole system's homeostasis will be altered to a new balance, which contributes to the pathologic process. So it is no wonder that almost every heart disease is related to metabolic shift. Furthermore, aging is also found to be related to the reduction in mitochondrial function, insulin resistance, and dysregulated intracellular lipid metabolism. Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) functions as an energy sensor to detect intracellular ATP/AMP ratio and plays a pivotal role in intracellular adaptation to energy stress. During different pathology (like myocardial ischemia and hypertension), the activation of cardiac AMPK appears to be essential for repairing cardiomyocyte's function by accelerating ATP generation, attenuating ATP depletion, and protecting the myocardium against cardiac dysfunction and apoptosis. In this overview, we will talk about the normal heart's metabolism, how metabolic shifts during aging and different pathologies, and how AMPK regulates metabolic changes during these conditions.

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