Excess Ω-6 Fatty Acids Influx in Aging Drives Metabolic Dysregulation, Electrocardiographic Alterations, and Low-Grade Chronic Inflammation

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Aging, Fatty acids, Inflammation, Lipid signaling, Metabolism

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Maintaining a balance of ω-6 and ω-3 fatty acids is essential for cardiac health. Current ω-6 and ω-3 fatty acids in the American diet have shifted from the ideal ratio of 2:1 to almost 20:1; while there is a body of evidence that suggests the negative impact of such a shift in younger organisms, the underlying age-related metabolic signaling in response to the excess influx of ω-6 fatty acids is incompletely understood. In the present study, young (6 mo old) and aging (≥18 mo old) mice were fed for 2 mo with a ω-6-enriched diet. Excess intake of ω-6 enrichment decreased the total lean mass and increased nighttime carbohydrate utilization, with higher levels of cardiac cytokines indicating low-grade chronic inflammation. Dobutamine-induced stress tests displayed an increase in PR interval, a sign of an atrioventricular defect in ω-6-fed aging mice. Excess ω-6 fatty acid intake in aging mice showed decreased 12-lipoxygenase with a concomitant increase in 15-lipoxygenase levels, resulting in the generation of 15(S)-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid, whereas cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 generated prostaglandin E2, leukotriene B4, and thromboxane B2. Furthermore, excessive ω-6 fatty acids led to dysregulated nuclear erythroid 2-related factor 2/antiox-idant-responsive element in aging mice. Moreover, ω-6 fatty acid-mediated changes were profound in aging mice with respect to the eicosanoid profile while minimal changes were observed in the size and shape of cardiomyocytes. These findings provide compelling evidence that surplus consumption of ω-6 fatty acids, coupled with insufficient intake of ω-3 fatty acids, is linked to abnormal changes in ECG. These manifestations contribute to functional deficiencies and expansion of the inflammatory mediator milieu during later stages of aging. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Aging has a profound impact on the metabolism of fatty acids to maintain heart function. The excess influx of ω-6 fatty acids in aging perturbed electrocardiography with marked signs of inflammation and a dysregulated oxidative-redox balance. Thus, the quality and quantity of fatty acids determine the cardiac pathology and energy utilization in aging.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, v. 314, issue 2, p. H160-H169