Cardiac metabolism in heart disease: moving  from Cinderella to center stage 

Due to its high energy consumption and limited ability to store ATP, the heart is highly dependent on a constant exogenous supply of metabolic substrates. There is growing recognition of the importance and multiple roles of substrate energy metabolism in both cardiac health and disease. Disturbances in cardiac metabolism are increasingly being recognized as crucial drivers of the development and progression of heart disease. For instance, lipid overload due to Western life style or obesity eventually elicits diabetic cardiomyopathy, while excess glucose utilization is associated with hypertrophic heart failure (and vice versa). Accordingly, there is an urgent unmet clinical need for treatments that can directly target metabolic defects in heart failure. Interestingly, interventions directed towards normalizing cardiac metabolism, referred to as “metabolic modulation”, are emerging as promising and effective therapeutic options in the treatment of heart failure. 

Why a workinggroup Cardiac Metabolism?
Several research groups in The Netherlands have made important contributions to this field and have now embarked on a joint mission (i) to form and intensify mutual collaborations to accelerate the further disclosure of novel mechanistic insights, (ii) to design and develop specific metabolic modulation approaches for the treatment of patients with heart disease, (iii) to generate joint initiatives within the existing framework of the Dutch Cardiovascular Alliance to promote swift valorization and implementation of these new therapeutic approaches, and (iv) to train and inform the next generation of scientists and prepare them for a career in the metabolic arena.  Establishment of a Working Group on Cardiac Metabolism (acronym CarMet) supported by the Netherlands Heart Institute would markedly facilitate the realization of this mission.

List of members:

Maastricht University: Miranda Nabben (, Joost J.F.P. Luiken (, Jan F.C. Glatz (

Amsterdam UMC: Coert J. Zuurbier (, Riekelt H. Houtkooper (, Jolanda van der Velden (

UMC Groningen: Daan Westenbrink ( 

UMC Utrecht: Jeanine J. Prompers (

Proposed activities:
1. Organizing biannual scientific council meetings focused on specific topics within the cardio-metabolic field (March/April and September/October). The council meetings will not only include lectures from working group members, but also short talks by PhD students and post-docs. In addition, we will invite (international) leaders in the field to serve as key note speakers. At least one meeting should include an overnight stay so as to facilitate socializing of participants. 

2. Small ‘hands-on’ workshops for discussing and practicing methodological aspects of research projects. 

3. Bilateral site-visits to exchange techniques. 

4. Initiatives for collaborative grant writing (both national and at the European level). 

Concluding statement:
Given the exciting prospect of the broad applicability and suggested effectiveness of metabolic modulation therapy in the fight against cardiovascular diseases, supporting the proposed CarMet Working Group will dramatically accelerate scientific progress and its implementation in routine preclinical and clinical practice.

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