α-Linolenic acid intake attenuates myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury through anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative stress effects in diabetic but not normal rats

Nianlin Xie, Wei Zhang, Jia Li, Hongliang Liang, Huasong Zhou, Weixun Duan, Xuezeng Xu, Shiqiang Yu, Haifeng Zhang, Dinghua Yi
Archives of Medical Research 2011, 42 (3): 171-81

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Patients with diabetes show enhanced susceptibility to myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (MI/R) injury. Epidemiological studies indicated that consumption of α-linolenic acid (ALA) significantly reduces the risk of cardiac events in post-acute myocardial infarction patients. The present study attempted to investigate the effects of ALA intake on MI/R injury in normal and diabetic rats and its mechanisms.

METHODS: The high-fat diet-fed streptozotocin (HFD-STZ) rat model was developed. Age-matched normal and HFD-STZ rats were randomly assigned to receive normal diet or ALA (oral gavage, 500 μg/kg per day). After 4 weeks of feeding, animals were subjected to 30 min of myocardial ischemia and 4 or 6 h of reperfusion.

RESULTS: Compared with the normal control, HFD-STZ rats showed more severe myocardial functional impairment and injury. Although ALA intake for 4 weeks did not change myocardial function and injury in normal rats, it significantly improved the instantaneous first derivation of left ventricle pressure, reduced infarct size, plasma creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase activities, and apotosis at the end of reperfusion in HFD-STZ diabetic rats. Moreover, ALA intake not only significantly reduced tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) concentrations but reduced the increase in superoxide production and malonaldialdehyde formation and simultaneously enhanced the antioxidant capacity in the diabetic hearts. Myocardial PI3K expression and Akt phosphorylation were increased by ALA intake in diabetic but not normal rats.

CONCLUSIONS: Chronic ALA intake confers cardioprotection in MI/R by exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative stress effects in diabetic but not normal rats, which is possibly through PI3K-Akt-dependent mechanism.

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