Citric acid cycle flux and pressure-volume work in the isolated working rat heart

Raymond Richard Russell, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


It has been demonstrated previously that the mammalian heart cannot sustain physiologic levels of pressure-volume work if ketone bodies are the only substrates for respiration. In order to determine the metabolic derangement responsible for contractile failure in hearts utilizing ketone bodies, rat hearts were prefused at a near-physiologic workload in a working heart apparatus with acetoacetate and competing or alternate substrates including glucose, lactate, pyruvate, propionate, leucine, isoleucine, valine and acetate. While the pressure-volume work for hearts utilizing glucose was stable for 60 minutes of perfusion, performance fell by 30 minutes for hearts oxidizing acetoacetate as the sole substrate. The tissue content of 2-oxoglutarate and its transamination product, glutamate, were elevated in hearts utilizing acetoacetate while succinyl-CoA was decreased suggesting impaired flux through the citric acid cycle at the level of 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase. Further studies indicated that the inhibition of 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase developed prior to the onset of contractile failure and that the inhibition of the enzyme may be related to sequestration of the required cofactor, coenzyme A, as the thioesters acetoacetyl-CoA and acetyl-CoA. The contractile failure was not observed when glucose, lactate, pyruvate, propionate, valine or isoleucine were present together with acetoacetate, but the addition of acetate or leucine to acetoacetate did not improve performance indicating that improved performance is not mediated through the provision of additional acetyl-CoA. Furthermore, addition of competing substrates that improved function did not relieve the inhibition of 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase and actually resulted in the further accumulation of citric acid cycle intermediates "upstream" of 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase (2-oxoglutarate, glutamate, citrate and malate). Studies with (1-$\sp{14}$C) pyruvate indicate that the utilization of ketone bodies is associated with activation of NADP$\sp+$dependent malic enzyme and enrichment of the C4 pool of the citric acid cycle. The results suggest that contractile failure induced by ketone bodies in rat heart results from inhibition of 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase and that reversal of contractile failure is dissociated from relief of the inhibition, but rather is due to the entry of carbon units into the citric acid cycle as compounds other than acetyl-CoA. This mechanism of enrichment (anaplerosis) provides oxaloacetate for condensation with acetyl-CoA derived from ketone bodies allowing continued energy production by sustaining flux through a span of the citric acid cycle up to the point of inhibition at 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase for energy production thereby producing the reducing equivalents necessary to sustain oxidative phosphorylation.

Subject Area

Anatomy & physiology|Animals

Recommended Citation

Russell, Raymond Richard, "Citric acid cycle flux and pressure-volume work in the isolated working rat heart" (1991). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9125573.