Long chain fatty acids (LCFAs) provide 70-80% of the energy for cardiac contractile activity. LCFAs are also essential for many other cellular functions, such as transcriptional regulation of proteins involved in lipid metabolism, modulation of intracellular signalling pathways, and as substrates for membrane constituents. When LCFA uptake exceeds the capacity for their cardiac utilization, the intracellular lipids accumulate and are thought to contribute to contractile dysfunction, arrhythmias, cardiac myocyte apoptosis and congestive heart failure. Moreover, increased cardiac myocyte triacylglycerol, diacylglycerol and ceramide depots are cardinal features associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. In recent years considerable evidence has accumulated to suggest that, the rate of entry of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs) into the cardiac myocyte is a key factor contributing to a) regulating cardiac LCFA metabolism and b) lipotoxicity in the obese and diabetic heart. In the present review we i) examine the evidence indicating that LCFA transport into the heart involves a protein-mediated mechanism, ii) discuss the proteins involved in this process, including FAT/CD36, FABPpm and FATP1, iii) discuss the mechanisms involved in regulating LCFA transport by some of these proteins (including signaling pathways), as well as iv) the possible interactions of these proteins in regulating LCFA transport into the heart. In addition, v) we discuss how LCFA transport and transporters are altered in the obese/diabetic heart.
Keywords: Fatty acid transport, FAT/CD36, FABPpm, heart
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