Myocardial FFA metabolism during rest and atrial pacing in humans

Bryan C. Bergman, Tatiana Tsvetkova, Brian Lowes, Eugene E. Wolfel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


There is limited in vivo data in humans evaluating myocardial fat utilization during increased heart work. This study was done to determine myocardial free fatty acid (FFA) metabolism during rest and atrial pacing, which increases cardiac work without changing arterial substrate concentration. We studied seven healthy men and women (age = 49.7 ± 3.9 yr, BMI = 23.4 ± 1.1 kg/m2, V̇O2max = 35.5 ± 3.0 ml·kg-1 ·min-1, ejection fraction = 68 ± 3%). After 3 days of dietary control, coronary sinus, femoral arterial and venous, and peripheral venous catheters were placed. Subjects received [13C]bicarbonate followed by a continuous infusion of [1- 13C]palmitate through the end of the study. Arterial and coronary sinus blood sampling and measurements of resting coronary sinus blood flow were made during rest and atrial pacing to 120 beats/min. MV̇O2 increased (P < 0.05) from rest to atrial pacing. Coronary sinus FFA concentration was significantly lower than arterial through rest and atrial pacing (P = 0.007). Isotopically measured myocardial palmitate uptake increased significantly from rest to atrial pacing (P = 0.03). Approximately one-third of palmitate delivery was extracted by the myocardium during rest and atrial pacing. Myocardial V13CO2 production and palmitate oxidation increased significantly from rest (P < 0.01) to atrial pacing. Net glycerol balance was significantly greater than zero during rest (P = 0.04) but not different from zero during atrial pacing (P = 0.13). These data suggest that myocardial lipid uptake and oxidation increase with greater heart work during atrial pacing, with a similar relative proportion of fat oxidation to total myocardial energy expenditure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E358-E366
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Free fatty acid
  • Myocardial substrate utilization
  • Stable isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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