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Circ Heart Fail. 2012 May 1;5(3):376-84. doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.111.963116. Epub 2012 Apr 2.

A diet rich in unsaturated fatty acids prevents progression toward heart failure in a rabbit model of pressure and volume overload.

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  • 1Experimental Cardiology Group of the Heart Center, Institute for Health Care Research, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

During heart failure (HF), cardiac metabolic substrate preference changes from fatty acid (FA) toward glucose oxidation. This change may cause progression toward heart failure. We hypothesize that a diet rich in FAs may prevent this process, and that dietary ω3-FAs have an added antiarrhythmic effect based on action potential (AP) shortening in animals with HF.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Rabbits were fed a diet containing 1.25% (w/w) high oleic sunflower oil (HF-ω9, N=11), 1.25% fish oil (HF-ω3, N=11), or no supplement (HF-control, N=8). Subsequently, HF was induced by volume and pressure overload. After 4 months, HF-parameters were assessed, electrocardiograms were recorded, and blood and ventricular tissue were collected. Myocytes were isolated for patch clamp or intracellular Ca(2+)- recordings to study electrophysiologic remodeling and arrhythmogenesis. Both the HF-ω9 and the HF-ω3 groups had larger myocardial FA oxidation capacity than HF control. The HF-ω3 group had significantly lower mean (± SEM) relative heart and lung weight (3.3±0.13 and 3.2±0.12 g kg(-1), respectively) than HF control (4.8±0.30 and 4.5±0.23), and shorter QTc intervals (167±2.6 versus 182±6.4). The HF-ω9 also displayed a significantly reduced relative heart weight (3.6±0.26), but had similar QTc (179±4.3) compared with HF control. AP duration in the HF-ω3 group was ≈20% shorter due to increased I(to1) and I(K1) and triggered activity, and Ca(2+)-aftertransients were less than in the HF-ω9 group.

CONCLUSIONS:

Dietary unsaturated FAs started prior to induction of HF prevent hypertrophy and HF. In addition, fish oil FAs prevent HF-induced electrophysiologic remodeling and arrhythmias.

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