Apoptosis is a programmed cell death that plays a critical role in cell homeostasis. In particular, apoptosis in cardiomyocytes is involved in several cardiovascular diseases including heart failure. Recently autophagy has emerged as an important modulator of programmed cell death pathway. Recent evidence indicates that saturated fatty acids induce cell death through apoptosis and this effect is specific for palmitate. On the other hand, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been implicated in the protection against cardiovascular diseases, cardiac ischemic damage and myocardial dysfunction. In the present study we show that n-3 PUFA eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) treatment to culture medium of H9c2 rat cardiomyoblasts protects cells against palmitate-induced apoptosis, as well as counteracts palmitate-mediated increase of autophagy. Further investigation is required to establish whether the antiautophagic effect of EPA may be involved in its cytoprotective outcome and to explore the underlying biochemical mechanisms through which palmitate and EPA control the fate of cardiac cells.
Stefanelli, C., Flamigni, F., Pazzini, C., Tantini, B., Caldarera, C. M., Cetrullo, S., … Facchini, A. (2012). Antiapoptotic and Antiautophagic Effects of Eicosapentaenoic Acid in Cardiac Myoblasts Exposed to Palmitic Acid. Nutrients, 4(2), 78–90. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu4020078