Dietary supplementation with marine oils may reduce the incidence of thromboembolism and decrease cardiac arrhythmias during myocardial ischemia. However, function of subcellular organelles isolated from hearts of these animals is impaired. In contrast to studies where marine oil was the sole source of dietary lipid in rats, menhaden oil was used to supplement standard canine laboratory chow. In mitochondria isolated from hearts of dogs fed this diet for 60 wk, the phospholipid content of arachidonic acid was replaced by the n-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids. Mitochondrial levels of linoleic and linolenic acids were not altered. The mitochondrial membrane phospholipid from the menhaden oil-fed dogs demonstrated increased cardiolipin. The respiratory function of heart mitochondria from the menhaden oil-supplemented dogs was not decreased from that of dogs on standard chow only. Increased succinate-supported respiration paralleled increased cytochrome oxidase in mitochondria from menhaden oil-fed dogs. The activity of the cardiolipin-dependent carnitine acylcarnitine translocase was unaffected. Myocardial ischemia decreased mitochondrial respiration in menhaden-fed dogs. Decreased palmitoylcarnitine-carnitine exchange following ischemia resulted from decreased matrix carnitine rather than decreased translocase activity. Normal levels of the essential fatty acids in the n-3-enriched mitochondrial membrane phospholipids appear to eliminate the mitochondrial dysfunction observed in essential fatty acid-deficient membranes.
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