Alterations in mitochondrial function in cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure
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Normal cardiac function requires high and continuous supply with ATP. As mitochondria are the major source of ATP production, it is apparent that mitochondrial function and cardiac function need to be closely related to each other. When subjected to overload, the heart hypertrophies. Initially, the development of hypertrophy is a compensatory mechanism, and contractile function is maintained. However, when the heart is excessively and/or persistently stressed, cardiac function may deteriorate, leading to the onset of heart failure. There is considerable evidence that alterations in mitochondrial function are involved in the decompensation of cardiac hypertrophy. Here, we review metabolic changes occurring at the mitochondrial level during the development of cardiac hypertrophy and the transition to heart failure. We will focus on changes in mitochondrial substrate metabolism, the electron transport chain and the role of oxidative stress. We will demonstrate that, with respect to mitochondrial adaptations, a clear distinction between hypertrophy and heart failure cannot be made because most of the findings present in overt heart failure can already be found in the various stages of hypertrophy.