The heart has a reduced capacity to generate sufficient energy when failing, resulting in an energy-starved condition with diminished functions. Studies have identified numerous changes in metabolic pathways in the failing heart that result in reduced oxidation of both glucose and fatty acid substrates, defects in mitochondrial functions and oxidative phosphorylation, and inefficient substrate utilization for the ATP that is produced. Recent early-phase clinical studies indicate that inhibitors of fatty acid oxidation and antioxidants that target the mitochondria may improve heart function during failure by increasing compensatory glucose oxidation. Adrenergic receptors (α1
and β) are a key sympathetic nervous system regulator that controls cardiac function. β-AR blockers are an established treatment for heart failure and α1A
-AR agonists have potential therapeutic benefit. Besides regulating inotropy and chronotropy, α1
- and β-adrenergic receptors also regulate metabolic functions in the heart that underlie many cardiac benefits. This review will highlight recent studies that describe how adrenergic receptor-mediated metabolic pathways may be able to restore cardiac energetics to non-failing levels that may offer promising therapeutic strategies.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited