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



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.


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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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