Cell Rep. 2021 Mar 9;34(10):108836. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.108836.
In diseased states, the heart can shift to use different carbon substrates, measured through changes in uptake of metabolites by imaging methods or blood metabolomics. However, it is not known whether these measured changes are a result of transcriptional changes or external factors. Here, we explore transcriptional changes in late-stage heart failure using publicly available data integrated with a model of heart metabolism. First, we present a heart-specific genome-scale metabolic network reconstruction (GENRE), iCardio. Next, we demonstrate the utility of iCardio in interpreting heart failure gene expression data by identifying tasks inferred from differential expression (TIDEs), which represent metabolic functions associated with changes in gene expression. We identify decreased gene expression for nitric oxide (NO) and N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac) synthesis as common metabolic markers of heart failure. The methods presented here for constructing a tissue-specific model and identifying TIDEs can be extended to multiple tissues and diseases of interest.