The failing heart utilizes 3-hydroxybutyrate as a metabolic stress defense

Julie L. Horton, Michael T. Davidson, Clara Kurishima, Rick B. Vega, Jeffery C. Powers, Timothy R. Matsuura, Christopher Petucci, E. Douglas Lewandowski, Peter A. Crawford, Deborah M. Muoio, Fabio A. Recchia, Daniel P. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Evidence has emerged that the failing heart increases utilization of ketone bodies. We sought to determine whether this fuel shift is adaptive. Mice rendered incapable of oxidizing the ketone body 3-hydroxybutyrate (3OHB) in the heart exhibited worsened heart failure in response to fasting or a pressure overload/ischemic insult compared with WT controls. Increased delivery of 3OHB ameliorated pathologic cardiac remodeling and dysfunction in mice and in a canine pacing model of progressive heart failure. 3OHB was shown to enhance bioenergetic thermodynamics of isolated mitochondria in the context of limiting levels of fatty acids. These results indicate that the heart utilizes 3OHB as a metabolic stress defense and suggest that strategies aimed at increasing ketone delivery to the heart could prove useful in the treatment of heart failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJCI Insight
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 21 2019


  • Cardiology
  • Heart failure
  • Metabolism
  • Mitochondria
  • Mouse models


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