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Journal of Lipids
Volume 2011, Article ID 189876, 9 pages
Review Article

Very-Low-Density Lipoprotein: Complex Particles in Cardiac Energy Metabolism

1Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EG, UK
2Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, Parks Road Oxford OX1 3PT, UK

Received 28 November 2010; Accepted 9 May 2011

Academic Editor: Akihiro Inazu

Copyright © 2011 You-Guo Niu and Rhys D. Evans. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The heart is a major consumer of energy and is able to utilise a wide range of substrates including lipids. Nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) were thought to be a favoured carbon source, but their quantitative contribution is limited because of their relative histotoxicity. Circulating triacylglycerols (TAGs) in the form of chylomicrons (CMs) and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) are an alternative source of fatty acids and are now believed to be important in cardiac metabolism. However, few studies on cardiac utilisation of VLDL have been performed and the role of VLDL in cardiac energy metabolism remains unclear. Hearts utilise VLDL to generate ATP, but the oxidation rate of VLDL-TAG is relatively low under physiological conditions; however, in certain pathological states switching of energy substrates occurs and VLDL may become a major energy source for hearts. We review research regarding myocardial utilisation of VLDL and suggest possible roles of VLDL in cardiac energy metabolism: metabolic regulator and extracardiac energy storage for hearts.