Derangements in systemic and local metabolism develop in patients with CHF [chronic HF (heart failure)] and contribute to the progression of the disease. Impaired skeletal muscle metabolism, morphology and function leading to exercise intolerance are hallmarks of the syndrome of CHF. These changes result in abnormal glucose and lipid metabolism, and the associated insulin resistance, which contribute to progression of skeletal muscle catabolism and development of muscle atrophy in patients with advanced HF. In the present issue of Clinical Science, Toth and co-workers demonstrate the impairment of skeletal muscle protein metabolism in patients with HF, and specifically show an impaired anabolic response in the skeletal muscle of these patients following a period of nutritional deficiency.

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