Regulation of fatty acid metabolism by mTOR in adult murine hearts occurs independently of changes in PGC-1α

Yi Zhu, Jamie Soto, Brandon Anderson, Christian Riehle, Yi Cheng Zhang, Adam R. Wende, Deborah Jones, Donald A. McClain, E. Dale Abel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is essential for cardiac development, growth, and function, but the role of mTOR in the regulation of cardiac metabolism and mitochondrial respiration is not well established. This study sought to determine cardiac metabolism and mitochondrial bioenergetics in mice with inducible deletion of mTOR in the adult heart. Doxycycline-inducible and cardiac-specific mTOR-deficient mice were generated by crossing cardiac-specific doxycycline-inducible tetO-Cre mice with mice harboring mTOR floxed alleles. Deletion of mTOR reduced mTORC1 and mTORC2 signaling after in vivo insulin stimulation. Maximum and minimum dP/dt measured by cardiac catheterization in vivo under anesthesia and cardiac output, cardiac power, and aortic pressure in ex vivo working hearts were unchanged, suggesting preserved cardiac function 4 wk after doxycycline treatment. However, myocardial palmitate oxidation was impaired, whereas glucose oxidation was increased. Consistent with reduced palmitate oxidation, expression of fatty acid metabolism genes fatty acid-binding protein 3, medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase, and hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase/3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase/enoyl-CoA hydratase (trifunctional protein)-α and -β was reduced, and carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1 and -2 enzymatic activity was decreased. Mitochondrial palmitoyl carnitine respiration was diminished. However, mRNA for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator (PGC)-1α and -1β, protein levels of PGC-1α, and electron transport chain subunits, mitochondrial DNA, and morphology were unchanged. Also, pyruvate-supported and FCCP-stimulated respirations were unchanged, suggesting that mTOR deletion induces a specific defect in fatty acid utilization. In conclusion, mTOR regulates mitochondrial fatty acid utilization but not glucose utilization in the heart via mechanisms that are independent of changes in PGC expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H41-H51
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013


  • Cardiac substrate metabolism
  • Mechanistic target of rapamycin
  • Mitochondrial respiration
  • Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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