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

Related Stories

Recommended for you

One in five people will develop heart failure

date 15 hours ago

One person in five is expected to develop heart failure in developed countries, a disease with no cure but which is largely preventable.It feels as if every breath in and out is through a narrow straw.The ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.