Decreases in Circulating Concentrations of Short-Chain Acylcarnitines are Associated with Systolic Function Improvement After Decompensated Heart Failure

Int Heart J. 2020 Sep 29;61(5):1014-1021. doi: 10.1536/ihj.20-053. Epub 2020 Sep 2.


Impaired fatty acid metabolism is associated with heart failure (HF) prognosis. However, specific changes in acylcarnitine profiles and their potential clinical value have not been well explored in patients recovering from acute decompensation.This study recruited 79 HF patients hospitalized because of acute decompensation with a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of < 40% and 51 normal controls. Patients were dichotomized into two groups, namely, the "improved (IMP) " and the "non-improved (NIMP) " groups, as defined by the changes in LVEF from baseline to 12 months after discharge. Mass spectrometry was used to quantify the acylcarnitine concentrations at baseline and 6 and 12 months after discharge. The IMP and NIMP groups contained 42 and 37 patients, respectively. At baseline, HF patients had higher plasma concentrations of specific long-, medium-, and short-chain acylcarnitines compared to normal controls. From baseline to 12 months post-discharge, the IMP group showed significant decreases in long- and short-chain acylcarnitine concentrations, but significant increases in medium-chain acylcarnitines. In the NIMP group, none of the acylcarnitines significantly decreased, and significant increases were noted in long-, medium-, and short-chain acylcarnitines. Generalized estimating equations demonstrated that nine acylcarnitines could discriminate the IMP group from the NIMP group, including three long-chain (C18:1, C16, and C16:1) and six short-chain acylcarnitines (C5, C5-OH, C4, C4:1-DC, C3, and C2). After adjusting for age, the six short-chain acylcarnitines remained significant. Changes in short-chain acylcarnitine profiles are independently associated with the improvement in cardiac systolic function after acute decompensation.

Keywords: Fatty acid; Lipidomics; Metabolism.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carnitine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Carnitine / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Esters / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / metabolism*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metabolomics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Stroke Volume
  • Systole


  • Esters
  • Fatty Acids
  • acylcarnitine
  • Carnitine