Fatty acids have an important role in providing energy for sustained contractile activity and viability of the heart. However,
considerable evidence now supports a role for fatty acids in the modulation of cardiovascular pathology as well. This may be beneficial
or detrimental due to the structural differences in the various fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fatty acids appear to provide important protection
to the heart during ischemic reperfusion challenge. Conversely, trans fatty acids are thought to mediate detrimental cardiac effects.
Potentially pathological features of ischemic cardiomyocytes may be manifested as qualitative findings in studies of myocardial infarction
and atherosclerosis. These general conclusions, however, are complicated by opposing effects that different fatty acids have even
within the same group (i.e. n-6 versus n-3 fatty acids within the polyunsaturated fatty acids group, and industrial versus ruminant trans
fats). Understanding more about how these fatty acid species alter ischemic myocardial injury is an increasingly attractive area of research.
The identification of further targets of fatty acid interactions has great potential to provide valuable information for the modulation
of cardiovascular disease.
Keywords: Ischemia, fatty acid, apoptosis, heart disease; reperfusion; atherosclerosis; trans fat, omega-3 fatty acid, polyunsaturated fatty
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