Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

NEW FINDINGS: What is the central question of this study? What are the physiological roles of cardiomyocyte-derived tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) in cardiac metabolism and stress response? What is the main finding and its importance? Cardiomyocyte BH4 has a physiological role in cardiac metabolism. There was a shift of substrate preference from fatty acid to glucose in hearts with targeted deletion of BH4 synthesis. The changes in fatty-acid metabolic profile were associated with a protective effect in response to ischaemia-reperfusion (IR) injury, and reduced infarct size. Manipulating fatty acid metabolism via BH4 availability could play a therapeutic role in limiting IR injury. ABSTRACT: Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) is an essential cofactor for nitric oxide (NO) synthases in which its production of NO is crucial for cardiac function. However, non-canonical roles of BH4 have been discovered recently and the cell-specific role of cardiomyocyte BH4 in cardiac function and metabolism remains to be elucidated. Therefore, we developed a novel mouse model of cardiomyocyte BH4 deficiency, by cardiomyocyte-specific deletion of Gch1, which encodes guanosine triphosphate cyclohydrolase I, a required enzyme for de novo BH4 synthesis. Cardiomyocyte (cm)Gch1 mRNA expression and BH4 levels from cmGch1 KO mice were significantly reduced compared to Gch1flox/flox (WT) littermates. Transcriptomic analyses and protein assays revealed downregulation of genes involved in fatty acid oxidation in cmGch1 KO hearts compared with WT, accompanied by increased triacylglycerol concentration within the myocardium. Deletion of cardiomyocyte BH4 did not alter basal cardiac function. However, the recovery of left ventricle function was improved in cmGch1 KO hearts when subjected to ex vivo ischaemia-reperfusion (IR) injury, with reduced infarct size compared to WT hearts. Metabolomic analyses of cardiac tissue after IR revealed that long-chain fatty acids were increased in cmGch1 KO hearts compared to WT, whereas at 5 min reperfusion (post-35 min ischaemia) fatty acid metabolite levels were higher in WT compared to cmGch1 KO hearts. These results indicate a new role for BH4 in cardiomyocyte fatty acid metabolism, such that reduction of cardiomyocyte BH4 confers a protective effect in response to cardiac IR injury. Manipulating cardiac metabolism via BH4 could play a therapeutic role in limiting IR injury.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Physiol

Publication Date





874 - 890


cardiac metabolism, ischaemia-reperfusion injury, tetrahydrobiopterin, Mice, Animals, Myocytes, Cardiac, Reperfusion Injury, Nitric Oxide Synthase, Infarction, Fatty Acids