Healing the heart with fat

Cardiac fibrosis was dampened in mice treated with 18-HEPE (right) compared with a control group (left). Credit: Endo et al., 2014

Too much dietary fat is bad for the heart, but the right kind of fat keeps the heart healthy, according to a paper published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Unsaturated dietary fatty acids, such as (EPA), are known to protect against cardiovascular diseases. However, the mechanism and the specific fat metabolites responsible for this protection were unknown.

A group of Japanese scientists now show that mice engineered to produce their own EPA are protected against heart disease and have improved . One particular EPA metabolite, called 18-hydroxyeicosapentaenoic acid (18-HEPE), was required for this protection. 18-HEPE was produced by immune cells called macrophages, which dampened inflammation and fibrosis in the heart. Treatment with 18-HEPE confirmed its heart-protective effects.

A diet enriched in 18-HEPE might thus help prevent heart failure in patients with cardiovascular diseases.

More information: Endo, J., et al. 2014. J. Exp. Med. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20132011

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Vitamin K antagonist plus clopidogrel feasible for PCI

Sep 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—Vitamin K antagonists (VKA) combined with clopidogrel may be a better alternative to triple anticoagulant therapy in patients on long-term VKA undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) ...

How pneumonia bacteria can compromise heart health

Sep 19, 2014

Bacterial pneumonia in adults carries an elevated risk for adverse cardiac events (such as heart failure, arrhythmias, and heart attacks) that contribute substantially to mortality—but how the heart is ...

An autoimmune response may contribute to hypertension

Sep 17, 2014

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke, chronic heart failure, and kidney disease. Inflammation is thought to promote the development of high blood pressure, though it is not clear what triggers ...

User comments