Treatment of rats with thyroxine has been shown to elevate the biosynthesis and content of cardiolipin in the heart [Cao, Cheng, Angel and Hatch (1995) Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1256, 241-244]. Treatment with thyroxine resulted in a 1.8-fold increase (P < 0.025) in [1-14C]linoleate and a 1.7-fold increase (P < 0.025) in [1-14C]oleate incorporated into cardiolipin in perfused hearts, compared with controls. The mechanism for the elevation in incorporation of unsaturated fatty acids into cardiolipin was a 1.6-fold (P < 0.025) increase in mitochondrial monolysocardiolipin acyltransferase activity. The results demonstrate that the acylation of cardiac monolysocardiolipin is regulated by thyroid hormone. Thus an elevation in cardiolipin biosynthesis is accompanied by an elevation in monolysocardiolipin acyltransferase activity to maintain the appropriate molecular species composition of cardiolipin in the cardiac mitochondrial membrane. We postulate that monolysocardiolipin acyltransferase might be a rate-limiting enzyme for the molecular remodelling of cardiolipin in the heart.

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