Fatty acid-binding proteins in the heart

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Long-chain fatty acids are important fuel molecules for the heart, their oxidation in mitochondria providing the bulk of energy required for cardiac functioning. The low solubility of fatty acids in aqueous solutions impairs their cellular transport. However, cardiac tissue contains several proteins capable of binding fatty acids non-covalently. These fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs) are thought to facilitate both cellular uptake and intracellular transport of fatty acids. The majority of fatty acids taken up by the heart seems to pass the sarcolemma through a carrier-mediated translocation mechanism consisting of one or more membrane-associated FABPs. Intracellular transport of fatty acids towards sites of metabolic conversion is most likely accomplished by cytoplasmic FABPs. In this review, the roles of membrane-associated and cytoplasmic FABPs in cardiac fatty acid metabolism under (patho)physiological circumstances are discussed.

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