Objectives: Prognosis of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) remains poor because of unknown pathophysiology and unestablished therapeutic strategy. This study aimed to identify a potential therapeutic intervention for HFpEF through metabolomics-based analysis. METHODS AND Results: Metabolomics with capillary electrophoresis time-of-flight mass spectrometry was performed using plasma of Dahl salt-sensitive rats fed high-salt diet, a model of hypertensive HFpEF, and showed decreased free-carnitine levels. Reassessment with enzymatic cycling method revealed the decreased plasma and left-ventricular free-carnitine levels in the HFpEF model. Urinary free-carnitine excretion was increased, and the expression of organic cation/carnitine transporter 2, which transports free-carnitine into cells, was down-regulated in the left ventricle (LV) and kidney in the HFpEF model. L-Carnitine was administered to the hypertensive HFpEF model. L-Carnitine treatment restored left-ventricular free-carnitine levels, attenuated left-ventricular fibrosis and stiffening, prevented pulmonary congestion, and improved survival in the HFpEF model independent of the antihypertensive effects, accompanied with increased expression of fatty acid desaturase (FADS) 1/2, rate-limiting enzymes in forming arachidonic acid, and enhanced production of arachidonic acid, a precursor of prostacyclin, and prostacyclin in the LV. In cultured cardiac fibroblasts, L-carnitine attenuated the angiotensin II-induced collagen production with increased FADS1/2 expression and enhanced production of arachidonic acid and prostacyclin. L-Carnitine-induced increase of arachidonic acid was canceled by knock-down of FADS1 or FADS2 in cultured cardiac fibroblasts. Serum free-carnitine levels were decreased in HFpEF patients. Conclusions: L-carnitine supplementation attenuates cardiac fibrosis by increasing prostacyclin production through arachidonic acid pathway, and may be a promising therapeutic option for HFpEF.
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