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Cardiovasc Res. 2012 Jun 1;94(3):460-8. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvs118. Epub 2012 Mar 12.

Dietary linoleate preserves cardiolipin and attenuates mitochondrial dysfunction in the failing rat heart.

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Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1582, USA.



Cardiolipin (CL) is a tetra-acyl phospholipid that provides structural and functional support to several proteins in the inner mitochondrial membrane. The majority of CL in the healthy mammalian heart contains four linoleic acid acyl chains (L(4)CL). A selective loss of L(4)CL is associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and heart failure in humans and animal models. We examined whether supplementing the diet with linoleic acid would preserve cardiac L(4)CL and attenuate mitochondrial dysfunction and contractile failure in rats with hypertensive heart failure.


Male spontaneously hypertensive heart failure rats (21 months of age) were administered diets supplemented with high-linoleate safflower oil (HLSO) or lard (10% w/w; 28% kilocalorie fat) or without supplemental fat (control) for 4 weeks. HLSO preserved L(4)CL and total CL to 90% of non-failing levels (vs. 61-75% in control and lard groups), and attenuated 17-22% decreases in state 3 mitochondrial respiration observed in the control and lard groups (P < 0.05). Left ventricular fractional shortening was significantly higher in HLSO vs. control (33 ± 2 vs. 29 ± 2%, P < 0.05), while plasma insulin levels were lower (5.4 ± 1.1 vs. 9.1 ± 2.3 ng/mL; P < 0.05), with no significant effect of lard supplementation. HLSO also increased serum concentrations of several eicosanoid species compared with control and lard diets, but had no effect on plasma glucose or blood pressure.


Moderate consumption of HLSO preserves CL and mitochondrial function in the failing heart and may be a useful adjuvant therapy for this condition.

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