Diabetic cardiomyopathy is characterized by excessive utilization of fatty acid substrate, diminished glucose transport, and mitochondrial dysfunction. However, the chemical mechanisms linking altered substrate utilization to mitochondrial dysfunction are unknown. Herein, we use shotgun lipidomics and multidimensional mass spectrometry to identify dramatic decreases in the critical mitochondrial inner membrane lipid, cardiolipin, in diabetic murine myocardium (from 7.2 ± 0.3 nmol/mg of protein in control hearts to 3.1 ± 0.1 nmol/mg of protein in diabetic myocardium; p < 0.001, n = 7). Moreover, the direct metabolic precursor of cardiolipin, phosphatidylglycerol, was also substantially depleted (2.5 ± 0.2 nmol/mg of protein in control hearts vs 1.3 ± 0.1 nmol/mg of protein in diabetic myocardium; p < 0.001, n = 7). Similarly, glycerol 3-phosphate, necessary for the penultimate step in phosphatidylglycerol production, decreased by 58% in diabetic myocardium (from 4.9 ± 0.9 to 2.2 ± 0.3 nmol/mg of protein; n = 4). Since Barth's syndrome (a disorder of cardiolipin metabolism) induces mitochondrial dysfunction and cardiomyopathy, and since decreases in cardiolipin content precipitate mitochondrial dysfunction, these results provide a unifying hypothesis linking altered substrate utilization and metabolic flux in diabetic myocardium with altered lipid metabolism, cardiolipin depletion, mitochondrial dysfunction, and resultant hemodynamic compromise.
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