Abstract

The heart is the organ with highest energy turnover rate (per unit weight) in our body. The heart relies on its flexible and powerful catabolic capacity to continuously generate large amounts of ATP utilizing many energy substrates including fatty acids, carbohydrates (glucose and lactate), ketones and amino acids. The normal health mainly utilizes fatty acids (40–60%) and glucose (20–40%) for ATP production while ketones and amino acids have a minor contribution (10–15% and 1–2%, respectively). Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation is the major contributor to cardiac energy production (95%) while cytosolic glycolysis has a marginal contribution (5%). The heart can dramatically and swiftly switch between energy-producing pathways and/or alter the share from each of the energy substrates based on cardiac workload, availability of each energy substrate and neuronal and hormonal activity. The heart is equipped with a highly sophisticated and powerful mitochondrial machinery which synchronizes cardiac energy production from different substrates and orchestrates the rate of ATP production to accommodate its contractility demands. This review discusses mitochondrial cardiac energy metabolism and how it is regulated. This includes a discussion on the allosteric control of cardiac energy metabolism by short-chain coenzyme A esters, including malonyl CoA and its effect on cardiac metabolic preference. We also discuss the transcriptional level of energy regulation and its role in the maturation of cardiac metabolism after birth and cardiac adaptability for different metabolic conditions and energy demands. The role post-translational modifications, namely phosphorylation, acetylation, malonylation, succinylation and glutarylation, play in regulating mitochondrial energy metabolism is also discussed.

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