Myocardial Energy Substrate Metabolism in Heart Failure : from Pathways to Therapeutic Targets

Curr Pharm Des. 2015;21(25):3654-64. doi: 10.2174/1381612821666150710150445.


Despite recent advances in therapy, heart failure remains a major cause of mortality and morbidity and is a growing healthcare burden worldwide. Alterations in myocardial energy substrate metabolism are a hallmark of heart failure, and are associated with an energy deficit in the failing heart. Previous studies have shown that a metabolic shift from mitochondrial oxidative metabolism to glycolysis, as well as an uncoupling between glycolysis and glucose oxidation, plays a crucial role in the development of cardiac inefficiency and functional impairment in heart failure. Therefore, optimizing energy substrate utilization, particularly by increasing mitochondrial glucose oxidation, can be a potentially promising approach to decrease the severity of heart failure by improving mechanical cardiac efficiency. One approach to stimulating myocardial glucose oxidation is to inhibit fatty acid oxidation. This review will overview the physiological regulation of both myocardial fatty acid and glucose oxidation in the heart, and will discuss what alterations in myocardial energy substrate metabolism occur in the failing heart. Furthermore, lysine acetylation has been recently identified as a novel post-translational pathway by which mitochondrial enzymes involved in all aspects of cardiac energy metabolism can be regulated. Thus, we will also discuss the effect of acetylation of metabolic enzymes on myocardial energy substrate preference in the settings of heart failure. Finally, we will focus on pharmacological interventions that target enzymes involved in fatty acid uptake, fatty acid oxidation, transcriptional regulation of fatty acid oxidation, and glucose oxidation to treat heart failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Carnitine / therapeutic use
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Fatty Acids / genetics
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Glucose / genetics
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glycolysis / genetics
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / genetics
  • Heart Failure / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria, Heart / drug effects
  • Mitochondria, Heart / metabolism
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors / agonists
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Fatty Acids
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors
  • Glucose
  • Carnitine