Man-made fat emulsion might stop heart attack damage

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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A fatty concoction called Intralipid, made from soy bean oil, egg phospholipids and glycerin might stop damage from heart attack. UCLA researchers suggest giving the fatty acids could help the heart muscle survive when it's deprived of oxygen.

The goal of heart attack treatment is to preserve cells deprived of oxygen. Current treatment focuses on unblocking the heart arteries fast to restore oxygen and nutrients to the myocardium, or heart muscle.

In a pre-clinical study, the researchers were able to show the man-made Intralipid emulsion helped prevent extensive heart attack damage when blood flow is restored to the heart.

During procedures, such as stent and angioplasty, the heart can suffer damage known as reperfusion injury. Researchers have tried to find ways to prevent heart damage associated with restoring blood flow.

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Intralipid is a brand name for a type of nutrition given to patient who can’t eat due to chronic illness. The emulsion contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and is given parenterally – into the general circulation through an intravenous device.

Researchers are also studying whether the fatty mixture could help preserve other organs that lack blood flow, especially for preservation for transplant. The finding is published in the journal "Anesthesiology".

The finding is preliminary, but could have applications in the future. If the man-made fat emulsion works, it could improve quality of life for heart attack victims.

Anesthesiology: doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e318223b8b9
"Phosphorylation of GSK-3β Mediates Intralipid-induced Cardioprotection against Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury"
Rahman, Siamak M.D. et al.; August, 2011

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