Evaluation of carbon flux and substrate selection through alternate pathways involving the citric acid cycle of the heart by 13C NMR spectroscopy

J Biol Chem. 1988 May 25;263(15):6964-71.


A previous 13C NMR technique (Malloy, C. R., Sherry, A.D., and Jeffrey, F.M.H. (1987) FEBS Lett. 212, 58-62) for measuring the relative flux of molecules through the oxidative versus anaplerotic pathways involving the citric acid cycle of the rat heart has been extended to include a complete analysis of the entire glutamate 13C spectrum. Although still simple in practice, this more sophisticated model allows an evaluation of 13C fractional enrichment of molecules entering both the oxidative and anaplerotic pathways under steady-state conditions. The method was used to analyze 13C NMR spectra of intact hearts or their acid extracts during utilization of 13C-enriched pyruvate, propionate, acetate, or various combinations thereof. [2-13C]Pyruvate was used to prove that steady-state flux of pyruvate through pyruvate carboxylase is significant during co-perfusion of pyruvate and acetate, and we demonstrate for the first time that a nine-line 13C multiplet may be detected in an intact, beating heart. Acetate or pyruvate alone provided about 86% of the acetyl-CoA; in combination, about 65% of the acetyl-CoA was derived from acetate, about 30% was derived from pyruvate, and the remainder from endogenous sources. Propionate reduced the contribution of exogenous acetate to acetyl-CoA to 77% and also reduced the oxidation of endogenous substrates. Equations are presented which allow this same analysis on multiply labeled substrates, making this technique extremely powerful for the evaluation of substrate selection and relative metabolic flux through anaplerotic and oxidative pathways in the intact heart.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / metabolism
  • Acetyl Coenzyme A / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Citric Acid Cycle*
  • Heart / drug effects
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods
  • Male
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Propionates / metabolism
  • Propionates / pharmacology
  • Pyruvates / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Acetates
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Insulin
  • Propionates
  • Pyruvates
  • Acetyl Coenzyme A