BACKGROUND Mechanisms in addition to diastolic calcium overload may contribute to diastolic dysfunction in hypertrophied hearts. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that failure to maintain a low ADP concentration in hypertrophied hearts contributes to diastolic dysfunction by inhibiting the rate of cross-bridge cycling. METHODS AND RESULTS By perfusing isolated rat hearts with pyruvate and 2-deoxyglucose (2DG), we were able to perturb [ADP] with minimal changes in [ATP] and [inorganic phosphate] or the contribution of glycolytic ATP to ATP synthesis. The effects of 2DG were compared in aortic-banded (LVH, n=5) and sham-operated (control, n=5) rat hearts. 31P NMR spectroscopy was used to measure the concentrations of phosphorus-containing compounds. We found a threefold increase of left ventricular end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP) in LVH during 2DG perfusion, and this increase was concomitant with a threefold increase in intracellular free [ADP]. The [ADP] in the control hearts was maintained <40 micromol/L, and no change in LVEDP was observed. A linear relationship between increases in [ADP] and LVEDP was found (r2=.66, P=.001). Furthermore, the capacity of the creatine kinase reaction, a major mechanism for maintaining a low [ADP], was decreased in LVH (P=.0001). CONCLUSIONS Increased [ADP] contributes to diastolic dysfunction in LVH, possibly due to slowed cross-bridge cycling. Decreased capacity of the creatine kinase reaction to rephosphorylate ADP is a likely contributing mechanism to the failure to maintain a low [ADP] in LVH.