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Physiol Res. 2012;61(6):567-74. Epub 2012 Oct 25.

Short-term fasting reduces the extent of myocardial infarction and incidence of reperfusion arrhythmias in rats.

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Department of Physiology, Second Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.


The effect of three-day fasting on cardiac ischemic tolerance was investigated in adult male Wistar rats. Anesthetized open-chest animals (pentobarbitone 60 mg/kg, i.p.) were subjected to 20-min left anterior descending coronary artery occlusion and 3-h reperfusion for infarct size determination. Ventricular arrhythmias were monitored during ischemia and at the beginning (3 min) of reperfusion. Myocardial concentrations of beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate were measured to assess mitochondrial redox state. Short-term fasting limited the infarct size (48.5+/-3.3 % of the area at risk) compared to controls (74.3+/-2.2 %) and reduced the total number of premature ventricular complexes (12.5+/-5.8) compared to controls (194.9+/-21.9) as well as the duration of ventricular tachycardia (0.6+/-0.4 s vs. 18.8+/-2.5 s) occurring at early reperfusion. Additionally, fasting increased the concentration of beta-hydroxybutyrate and beta-hydroxybutyrate/acetoacetate ratio (87.8+/-27.0) compared to controls (7.9+/-1.7), reflecting altered mitochondrial redox state. It is concluded that three-day fasting effectively protected rat hearts against major endpoints of acute I/R injury. Further studies are needed to find out whether these beneficial effects can be linked to altered mitochondrial redox state resulting from increased ketogenesis.

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