Up-regulation of myocardial connexin-43 in spontaneously hypertensive rats fed red palm oil is most likely implicated in its anti-arrhythmic effects

18 Sep 2020

The purpose of this study was to test our hypothesis that red palm oil (RPO) intake may affect abnormalities of myocardial connexin-43 (Cx43) and protein kinase C? (PKC?) signaling, and consequently the propensity of the spontaneously hypertensive rat heart (SHR) heart to arrhythmias. SHR and Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats fed a standard rat chow plus red palm oil (200 ?L/day) for 5 weeks were compared with untreated rats. Cytosolic but not particulate PKC? expression as well as Cx43-mRNA, total Cx43 proteins, and its phoshorylated forms were increased, and disordered localization of Cx43 was attenuated in the left ventricle of RPO-fed SHR compared with untreated rats. These alterations were associated with suppression of early post-ischemic-reperfusion-related ventricular tachycardia and electrically inducible ventricular fibrillation. However, the treatment dose of RPO caused down-regulation of myocardial Cx43, but did not alter its cell membrane distribution or overall PKC? expression in WKY rats. It was, however, associated with poor arrhythmia protection, suggesting overdosing. Results indicate that SHR benefit from RPO intake, particularly because of its apparent anti-arrhythmic effects. This protection can be, in part, attributed to the preservation of cell-to-cell communication via up-regulation of myocardial Cx43, but not with PKC? activation.