Lipotoxicity in the heart

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Mar;1801(3):311-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2009.09.023. Epub 2009 Oct 8.


Obesity and insulin resistance are associated with ectopic lipid deposition in multiple tissues, including the heart. Excess lipid may be stored as triglycerides, but are also shunted into non-oxidative pathways that disrupt normal cellular signaling leading to organ dysfunction and in some cases apoptosis, a process termed lipotoxicity. Various pathophysiological mechanisms have been proposed to lead to lipotoxic tissue injury, which might vary by cell type. Specific mechanisms by which lipotoxicity alter cardiac structure and function are incompletely understood, but are beginning to be elucidated. This review will focus on mechanisms that have been proposed to lead to lipotoxic injury in the heart and will review the state of knowledge regarding potential causes and correlates of increased myocardial lipid content in animal models and humans. We will seek to highlight those areas where additional research is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism
  • Heart Diseases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Biological
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Obesity / metabolism