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J Membr Biol. 1999 Nov 1;172(1):1-11.

The antiarrhythmic and anticonvulsant effects of dietary N-3 fatty acids.

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Departments of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Bldg 149, 13th Street, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


It has been shown in animals and probably in humans, that n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are antiarrhythmic. We report recent studies on the antiarrhythmic actions of PUFAs. The PUFAs stabilize the electrical activity of isolated cardiac myocytes by modulating sarcolemmal ion channels, so that a stronger electrical stimulus is required to elicit an action potential and the refractory period is markedly prolonged. Inhibition of voltage-dependent sodium currents, which initiate action potentials in excitable tissues, and of the L-type calcium currents, which initiate release of sarcoplasmic calcium stores that increase cytosolic free calcium concentrations and activate the contractile proteins in myocytes, appear at present to be the probable major antiarrhythmic mechanism of the PUFAs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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