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Journal of Lipids
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 365798, 12 pages
Review Article

Fatty Acid Oxidation and Cardiovascular Risk during Menopause: A Mitochondrial Connection?

1CNC—Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, 3004-517 Coimbra, Portugal
2Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, 3004-517 Coimbra, Portugal
3Department of Internal Medicine and Public Medicine, Clinica Medica “A. Murri”, University of Bari Medical School, 70124 Bari, Italy

Received 15 August 2011; Accepted 17 October 2011

Academic Editor: B. A. Neuschwander-Tetri

Copyright © 2012 Paulo J. Oliveira et al. 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.


Menopause is a consequence of the normal aging process in women. This fact implies that the physiological and biochemical alterations resulting from menopause often blur with those from the aging process. It is thought that menopause in women presents a higher risk for cardiovascular disease although the precise mechanism is still under discussion. The postmenopause lipid profile is clearly altered, which can present a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Due to the role of mitochondria in fatty acid oxidation, alterations of the lipid profile in the menopausal women will also influence mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation fluxes in several organs. In this paper, we propose that alterations of mitochondrial bioenergetics in the heart, consequence from normal aging and/or from the menopausal process, result in decreased fatty acid oxidation and accumulation of fatty acid intermediates in the cardiomyocyte cytosol, resulting in lipotoxicity and increasing the cardiovascular risk in the menopausal women.