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Clinical trials and epidemiological studies have suggested that dietary fish oil (FO) supplementation can provide an anti-arrhythmic benefit in some patient populations. The underlying mechanisms are not entirely clear. We wanted to understand how FO supplementation (for 4 weeks) affected the action potential configuration/duration of ventricular myocytes, and the ionic mechanism(s)/molecular basis for these effects. The experiments were conducted on adult rabbits, a widely used animal model for cardiac electrophysiology and pathophysiology. We used gas chromatography - mass spectroscopy to confirm that FO feeding produced a marked increase in the content of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the phospholipids of rabbit hearts. Left ventricular myocytes were used in current and voltage clamp experiments to monitor action potentials and ionic currents, respectively. Action potentials of myocytes from FO-fed rabbits exhibited much more positive plateau voltages and prolonged durations. These changes could be explained by an increase in the L-type Ca current (ICaL) and a decrease in the transient outward current (Ito) in these myocytes. FO feeding did not change the delayed rectifier or inward rectifier current. Immunoblot experiments showed that the FO-feeding induced changes in ICaL and Ito were associated with corresponding changes in the protein levels of major pore-forming subunits of these channels: increase in Cav1.2 and decrease in Kv4.2 and Kv1.4. There was no change in other channel subunits (Cav1.1, Kv4.3, KChIP2, and ERG1). We conclude that long-term fish oil supplementation can impact on cardiac electrical activity at least partially by changing channel subunit expression in cardiac myocytes.
Copyright: © 2010 Xu et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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VCU Physiology and Biophysics Publications