Mitochondria in the human heart

J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2009 Apr;41(2):99-106. doi: 10.1007/s10863-009-9211-0.


The heart relies mainly on mitochondrial metabolism to provide the energy needed for pumping blood to oxygenate the organs of the body. The study of mitochondrial function in the human heart faces many obstacles and elucidation of the role of mitochondria in cardiac diseases has relied mainly on studies with animal models. Cardiac diseases are the leading cause of mortality worldwide. With the emergence of new therapies to treat and prevent heart disease, some aiming at metabolic modulation, a need for acquiring a better understanding of mitochondrial function in the human heart becomes apparent. Our review is aimed at specific evaluation of the human heart in terms of (1) methods to understand mitochondrial function, with particular emphasis on integrated function, (2) data on the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in cardiovascular disease, and (3) possible applications of this knowledge in the treatment of patients with cardiac disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Heart Diseases / metabolism*
  • Heart Diseases / pathology
  • Heart Diseases / therapy
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria, Heart / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria, Heart / pathology
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Myocardium / pathology