Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 242, Issue 1–2, pp 89–99 | Cite as

Metabolic phenotyping of the diseased rat heart using 13C-substrates and ex vivo perfusion in the working mode

  • Genevièe Vincent
  • Maya Khairallah
  • Bertrand Bouchard
  • Christine Des Rosiers


The objective of the present study was to compare energy substrate fluxes through metabolic pathways leading to mitochondrial citrate synthesis and release in normal and diseased rat hearts using 13C-substrates and mass isotopomer analysis by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS). This study was prompted by our previous finding of a modulated citrate release by perfused rat hearts and by the possibility that a dysregulated myocardial citrate release represents a specific chronic alteration of energy metabolism in cardiac patients. The 15-week-old spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) was chosen as our animal model of disease and the Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rat as its matched control. Ex vivo work-performing hearts were perfused with a semi-recirculating buffer containing physiological concentrations of unlabeled (glucose) and 13C-labeled ([U-13C3](lactate + pyruvate) and/or [1-13C]oleate) substrates. In parallel to the continuous monitoring of indices of the heart's functional and physiological status, the following metabolic parameters were documented: (i) citrate release rates and citric acid cycle intermediate tissue levels, (ii) the contribution of fatty acids as well as pyruvate decarboxylation and carboxylation to citrate synthesis, and (iii) lactate and pyruvate uptake and efflux rates. Working hearts from both rat species showed a similar percent contribution of carbohydrates for citrate synthesis through decarboxylation (70%) and carboxylation (10%). SHR hearts showed the following metabolic alterations: a higher citrate release rate, which was associated with a parallel increase in its tissue level, a lower contribution of oleate β-oxidation to citrate synthesis, and an accelerated efflux rate of unlabeled lactate from glycolysis. These metabolic changes were not explained by differences in myocardial oxygen consumption, cardiac performance or efficiency, nor correlated with indices of tissue necrosis or ischemia. This study demonstrates how the alliance between ex vivo semi-recirculating working perfused rat hearts with 13C-substrates and mass isotopomer analysis by GCMS, can provide an unprecedented insight into the metabolic phenotype of normal and diseased rat hearts. The clinical relevance of metabolic alterations herein documented in the SHR heart is suggested by its resemblance to those reported in cardiac patients. Taken altogether, our results raise the possibility that the increased citrate release of diseased hearts results from an imbalance between citrate synthesis and utilization rates, which becomes more apparent under conditions of substrate abundance.

SHR hearts citrate release citric acid cycle energy metabolism substrate flux parameters isotopomer analysis 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Genevièe Vincent
    • 1
  • Maya Khairallah
    • 1
  • Bertrand Bouchard
    • 2
  • Christine Des Rosiers
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of NutritionUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Departments of Biochemistry and NutritionUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada

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