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Fat Metabolism Of Heart Muscles Affected By High Blood Pressure

A research conducted by de las Fuentes and colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that hearts with muscle thickening// or hypertrophy due to high blood pressure get less energy because of their reduced fat metabolism. Their finding has been published in the recent issue of the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology.

"The heart is the single most energy-consuming organ per weight in the body," says Lisa de las Fuentes, M.D.

Earlier research led by de las Fuentes' colleague Robert J. Gropler, M.D., showed that heart muscle in people with diabetes is overly dependent on fat for energy. Even though fat is an efficient fuel, burning it for energy creates an unusually high demand for oxygen, making the diabetic heart more sensitive to the drops in oxygen levels that occur with coronary artery blockage.

Gropler is director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Laboratory at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at the School of Medicine and professor of radiology, medicine and biomedical engineering.

Now this group of Washington University researchers has shown that hearts of non-diabetics with muscle thickening due to high blood pressure have an energy metabolism skewed in the opposite direction -- away from the use of fat for energy.

"Whereas Dr. Gropler found that a high level of fatty acid metabolism could be detrimental, we show that a low level may also be harmful," says de las Fuentes, co-director of the Cardiovascular Imaging and Clinical Research Core Laboratory and assistant professor of medicine. "These findings aren't contradictory. The heart has to be able to choose the energy source, either fats or glucose, most appropriate for its current energy needs and the availability of fuel."

De las Fuentes explains that hearts with muscle thickening, or hypertrophy, get less energy because of their reduced fat metabolism, which leads them to rely more heavily on carbohydrates.<
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