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AIMS: The chronically infarcted rat heart has multiple defects in metabolism, yet the location of the primary metabolic abnormality arising after myocardial infarction is unknown. Therefore, we investigated cardiac mitochondrial metabolism shortly after infarction. METHODS AND RESULTS: Myocardial infarctions (n = 11) and sham operations (n = 9) were performed on Wistar rats, at 2 weeks cardiac function was assessed using echocardiography, and rats were grouped into failing (ejection fraction < or =45%), moderately impaired (46-60%), and sham-operated (>60%). Respiration rates were decreased by 28% in both subsarcolemmal and interfibrillar mitochondria isolated from failing hearts, compared with sham-operated controls. However, respiration rates were not impaired in mitochondria from hearts with moderately impaired function. The mitochondrial defect in the failing hearts was located within the electron transport chain (ETC), as respiration rates were suppressed to the same extent when fatty acids, ketone bodies, or glutamate were used as substrates. Complex III protein levels were decreased by 46% and complex III activity was decreased by 26%, in mitochondria from failing hearts, but all other ETC complexes were unchanged. Decreased complex III activity was accompanied by a three-fold increase in complex III-derived H(2)O(2) production, decreased cardiolipin content, and a 60% decrease in mitochondrial cytochrome c levels from failing hearts. Respiration rates, complex III activity, cardiolipin content, and reactive oxygen species generation rates correlated with ejection fraction. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, a specific defect in complex III occurred acutely after myocardial infarction, which increased oxidative damage and impaired mitochondrial respiration. The extent of mitochondrial dysfunction in the failing heart was proportional to the degree of cardiac dysfunction induced by myocardial infarction.

Original publication




Journal article


Cardiovasc Res

Publication Date





127 - 136


Animals, Cardiolipins, Citric Acid Cycle, Cytochromes c, Electron Transport Complex III, Fatty Acids, Heart, Hydrogen Peroxide, Male, Mitochondria, Heart, Mitochondrial Proteins, Myocardial Infarction, Oxygen Consumption, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Reactive Oxygen Species