Background: In the western world, heart failure (HF) is one of the most important causes of cardiovascular mortality. Supplement with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) has been shown to improve cardiac function in HF and to decrease mortality after myocardial infarction (MI). The molecular structure and composition of n-3 PUFA varies between different marine sources and this may be of importance for their biological effects. Krill oil, unlike fish oil supplements, contains the major part of the n-3 PUFA in the form of phospholipids. This study investigated effects of krill oil on cardiac remodeling after experimental MI. Rats were randomised to pre-treatment with krill oil or control feed 14 days before induction of MI. Seven days post-MI, the rats were examined with echocardiography and rats in the control group were further randomised to continued control feed or krill oil feed for 7 weeks before re-examination with echocardiography and euthanization.
Results: The echocardiographic evaluation showed significant attenuation of LV dilatation in the group pretreated with krill oil compared to controls. Attenuated heart weight, lung weight, and levels of mRNA encoding classical markers of LV stress, matrix remodeling and inflammation reflected these findings. The total composition of fatty acids were examined in the left ventricular (LV) tissue and all rats treated with krill oil showed a significantly higher proportion of n-3 PUFA in the LV tissue, although no difference was seen between the two krill oil groups.
Conclusions: Supplement with krill oil leads to a proportional increase of n-3 PUFA in myocardial tissue and supplement given before induction of MI attenuates LV remodeling.