Purpose: Ketone body oxidation yields more ATP per mole of consumed oxygen than glucose. However, whether an increased ketone body supply in hypoxic cardiomyocytes and ischemic hearts is protective or not remains elusive. The goal of this study is to determine the effect of β-hydroxybutyrate (β-OHB), the main constituent of ketone bodies, on cardiomyocytes under hypoxic conditions and the effects of ketogenic diet (KD) on cardiac function in a myocardial infarction (MI) mouse model.
Methods: Adult mouse cardiomyocytes and MI mouse models fed a KD were used to research the effect of β-OHB on cardiac damage. qPCR, western blot analysis and immunofluorescence were used to detect the interaction between β-OHB and glycolysis. Live/dead cell staining and imaging, lactate dehydrogenase, Cell Counting Kit-8 assays, echocardiography and 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining were performed to evaluate the cardiomyocyte death, cardiac function and infarct sizes.
Results: β-OHB level was significantly higher in acute MI patients and MI mice. Treatment with β-OHB exacerbated cardiomyocyte death and decreased glucose absorption and glycolysis under hypoxic conditions. These effects were partially ameliorated by inhibiting hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) degradation via roxadustat administration in hypoxia-stimulated cardiomyocytes. Furthermore, β-OHB metabolisms were obscured in cardiomyocytes under hypoxic conditions. Additionally, MI mice fed a KD exhibited exacerbated cardiac dysfunction compared with control chow diet (CD)-fed MI mice.
Conclusion: Elevated β-OHB levels may be maladaptive to the heart under hypoxic/ischemic conditions. Administration of roxadustat can partially reverse these harmful effects by stabilizing HIF-1α and inducing a metabolic shift toward glycolysis for energy production.