Graham P. Holloway, Laelie A. Snook, Robert J. Harris, Jan F. C. Glatz, Joost J. F. P. Luiken and Arend Bonen In obese Zucker rats, lipids accumulate in the heart despite normal mitochondrial content, morphology and long-chain fatty acid oxidation The Journal of Physiology 589
The storage of fat within the heart muscle has been associated with reductions in force production, which has implications for the ability of the heart to adequately pump blood. With the assistance of membrane proteins known as transport proteins, fats from the blood can be moved into heart muscle cells, where they can either be stored or used for generating energy (within a structure called mitochondria) to pump blood. We provide evidence that in obese animals more fat accumulates within the heart as a result of their increased transport across the membranes of heart cells, not due to reductions in mitochondrial number or function. The knowledge of why fat accumulates in the heart may provide insight into novel treatments/therapies, and the current study suggests therapies focused on limiting the entry of fats into the heart may restore the ability of the heart to pump blood.
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