Dietary omega-3 supplementation exacerbates left ventricular dysfunction in an ovine model of anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity

Angelo Carbone, Peter Psaltis, Adam Nelson, Robert Metcalf, James Richardson, Michael Weightman, Anthony Thomas, John Finnie, Glenn Young, Stephen Worthley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Cumulative dose-dependent nonischemic cardiomyopathy (NICM) remains a significant risk with the use of some chemotherapeutic agents. In this context, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have been investigated for their cardioprotective potential in rodent and in vitro models of anthracycline toxicity, with conflicting results. This study evaluated prophylactic omega-3 PUFA supplementation in a large-animal model of anthracycline-induced NICM. Methods and Results: Merino sheep were randomized to oral drenching with omega-3 PUFA (fish oil; n = 8) or olive oil placebo (n = 9) 3 weeks before commencing repeated intracoronary infusions of doxorubicin (DOX) to induce cardiac dysfunction. Cumulative DOX dose was 3.6 mg/kg. Drenching was continued for 12 weeks after final DOX exposure. Despite significant increases in tissue omega-3 PUFA levels (P <.05 vs placebo), omega-3-treated sheep displayed greater signs of anthracycline cardiotoxicity than placebo animals, consisting of left ventricular dilatation and a greater decline in ejection fraction (P < .05), although myocardial fibrosis burden was similar in both groups. Conclusions: Dietary intake of omega-3 PUFA fails to prevent and may indeed exacerbate DOX-induced cardiotoxicity. Clinical use of omega-3 supplementation during chemotherapy should be deferred until more information is available regarding the mechanisms of interaction between fatty acids and the myocardium during anthracycline exposure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)502-511
    Number of pages10
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


    • Animal models
    • cardiomyopathy
    • doxorubicin
    • fish oil


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