Horm Metab Res 1999; 31(5): 300-306
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-978741
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© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Hyperthyroidism Facilitates Cardiac Fatty Acid Oxidation Through Altered Regulation of Cardiac Carnitine Palmitoyltransferase: Studies in Vivo and with Cardiac Myocytes

M. C. Sugden, D. A. Priestman, K. A. Orfali, M. J. Holness
  • Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, St. Bartholomew's and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary and Westfield College (University of London), London, UK
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Publication History



Publication Date:
20 April 2007 (online)

The aim was to establish whether increased cardiac fatty acid oxidation in hyperthyroidism is due to direct alterations in cardiac metabolism which favour fatty acid oxidation and/or whether normal regulatory links between changes in glucose supply and fatty acid oxidation are dysfunctional. Euthyroid rats were sampled in the absorptive state or after 48 h starvation. Rats were rendered hyperthyroid by injection of tri-iodothyronine (1000 µg/kg body wt. per day; 3 days). We evaluated the regulatory significance of direct effects of hyperthyroidism by measuring rates of palmitate oxidation in the absence or presence of glucose using cardiac myocytes. The results were examined in relation to the activity/regulatory characteristics of cardiac carnitine palmitoyltransferase (CPT) estimated by measuring rates of [3H]palmitoylcarnitine formation from [3H]carnitine and palmitoyl-CoA by isolated mitochondria. To define the involvement of other hormones, we examined whether hyperthyroidism altered basal or agonist-stimulated cardiac cAMP concentrations in cardiac myocytes and whether the effects of hyperthyroidism could be reversed by 24 h exposure to insulin infused subcutaneously (2 i. u. per day; Alzet osmotic pumps). Rates of 14C-palmitate oxidation (to 14CO2) by cardiac myocytes were significantly increased (1.6 fold; P < 0.05) by hyperthyroidism, whereas the percentage suppression of palmitate oxidation by glucose was greatly diminished. Cardiac CPT activities in mitochondria from hyperthyroid rats were 2-fold higher and the susceptibility of cardiac CPT activity to inhibition by malonyl-CoA was decreased. These effects were not mimicked by 48 h starvation. The decreased susceptibility of cardiac CPT activities to malonyl-CoA inhibition in hyperthyroid rats was normalised by 24 h exposure to elevated insulin concentration. Acute insulin addition did not influence the response to glucose in cardiac myocytes from euthyroid or hyperthyroid rats and basal and agonist-stimulated cAMP concentrations were unaffected by hyperthyroidism in vivo. The data provide insight into possible mechanisms by which hyperthyroidism facilitates fatty acid oxidation by the myocardium, identifying changes in cardiac CPT activity and malonyl-CoA sensitivity that would be predicted to render cardiac fatty acid oxidation less sensitive to external factors influencing malonyl-CoA content, and thereby to favour fatty acid oxidation. The increased CPT activity observed in response to hyperthyroidism may be a consequence of an impaired action of insulin but occurs through a cAMP-independent mechanism.