Enhancing the metabolic substrate: PPAR-alpha agonists in heart failure

Satyam Sarma*, Hossein Ardehali, Mihai Gheorghiade

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The prognosis for patients diagnosed with heart failure has significantly improved over the past three decades; however, the disease still confers a high degree of morbidity and mortality. Current treatments for chronic heart failure have focused primarily on blocking neurohormonal signaling and optimizing hemodynamic parameters. Although significant resources have been devoted toward the development of new pharmaceutical therapies for heart failure, few new drugs have been designed to target myocardial metabolic pathways despite growing evidence that on a fundamental level chronic heart failure can be characterized as an imbalance between myocardial energy demand and supply. Disruptions in myocardial energy pathways are evident as the myocardium is unable to generate sufficient amounts of ATP with advancing stages of heart failure. Down-regulation of fatty acid oxidation likely contributes to the phenotype of the "energy starved" heart. Fibrates are small molecule agonists of PPARα pathways that have been used to treat dyslipidemia. Although never used therapeutically in clinical heart failure, PPARα agonists have been shown to enhance fatty acid oxidation, improve endothelial cell function, and decrease myocardial fibrosis and hypertrophy in animal models of heart failure. In light of their excellent clinical safety profile, PPARα agonists may improve outcomes in patients suffering from systolic heart failure by augmenting myocardial ATP production in addition to targeting maladaptive hypertrophic pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-43
Number of pages9
JournalHeart Failure Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Fatty acid metabolism
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Heart failure
  • Myocardial metabolism
  • PPAR alpha

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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