Increase in saturated fatty acid (SFA) content in membrane phospholipids dramatically affects membrane properties and cellular functioning. We sought to determine whether exogenous SFA from the diet directly affects the degree of membrane phospholipid unsaturation in adult hearts and if these changes correlate with contractile dysfunction. Although both SFA-rich high fat diets (HFDs) and monounsaturated FA (MUFA)-rich HFDs cause the same degree of activation of myocardial FA uptake, triglyceride turnover, and mitochondrial FA oxidation and accumulation of toxic lipid intermediates, the former induced more severe diastolic dysfunction than the latter, which was accompanied with a decrease in membrane phospholipid unsaturation, induction of unfolded protein response (UPR), and a decrease in the expression of Sirt1 and stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (SCD1), catalyzing the conversion of SFA to MUFA. When the SFA supply in the heart overwhelms the cellular capacity to use it for energy, excess exogenous SFA channels to membrane phospholipids, leading to UPR induction, and development of diastolic dysfunction.
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