The early and mid 20th century was a period of substantial achievements in our understanding of cellular intermediary metabolism ranging from the discovery of nucleic acids to insulin and the citric acid cycle. These discoveries, among others, were the subject of Nobel Prize awards from 1910 through 1953. Ironically, subsequent to this prosperous era, metabolism research seemed to be destined for extinction, as all germane metabolic pathways were believed to be understood. However, interest in cellular metabolism was renewed with observations in the 1970s and 1980s that caloric deprivation and reduced cellular metabolism prolonged life in multiple model organisms. These observations, combined with findings that excess fuel, in the forms of glucose and fats, were also shown to decrease lifespan, have brought metabolism research back into focus. With regard to cardiovascular disease, it is now abundantly clear that consequences of excess caloric intake and reduced energy expenditure, such as obesity and the metabolic syndrome, are associated with excess cardiovascular risk. Thus, a better understanding of the mechanisms linking cellular metabolism and the pathogenesis and progression of cardiovascular diseases has become critical to advancing the medical field. The resulting resurgence of metabolism research is much more than simply a reappearance of last century’s science. Modern genetic techniques and animal models have enabled the exploration of metabolism with unprecedented levels of sophistication and precision. These developments prompted us to create this miniseries entitled “Targeting Metabolism as a Therapeutic Approach for Cardiovascular Diseases” with the goal of informing our readership of these latest developments and providing potential insights for new therapeutic strategies in cardiovascular disease. The first article in this series appears on page 2540 of this issue.
The miniseries will be published as monthly review articles for the next 6 months. Initially, the series will focus on the latest developments in the understanding of molecular mechanisms regulating myocardial metabolism. We will then explore how this knowledge impacts current concepts of diabetic cardiomyopathy and heart failure. The series will then move into the realm of ischemic heart disease and the modulatory influence of mitochondrial metabolism in vascular disease. Finally, we will address new concepts and technologies that utilize metabolism knowledge for the diagnosis and treatment of heart diseases.