Diabetes is an independent risk factor for the development of heart failure. Increased fatty acid (FA) uptake and deranged utilization leads to reduced cardiac efficiency and accumulation of cardiotoxic lipids, which is suggested to facilitate diabetic cardiomyopathy. We studied whether reduced FA uptake in the heart is protective against streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic cardiomyopathy by using mice doubly deficient in fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4) and FABP5 (DKO mice). Cardiac contractile dysfunction was aggravated 8 weeks after STZ treatment in DKO mice. Although compensatory glucose uptake was not reduced in DKO-STZ hearts, total energy supply, estimated by the pool size in the TCA cycle, was significantly reduced. Tracer analysis with 13C6-glucose revealed that accelerated glycolysis in DKO hearts was strongly suppressed by STZ treatment. Levels of ceramides, cardiotoxic lipids, were similarly elevated by STZ treatment. These findings suggest that a reduction in total energy supply by reduced FA uptake and suppressed glycolysis could account for exacerbated contractile dysfunction in DKO-STZ hearts. Thus, enhanced FA uptake in diabetic hearts seems to be a compensatory response to reduced energy supply from glucose, and therefore, limited FA use could be detrimental to cardiac contractile dysfunction due to energy insufficiency.
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