New research has shown that saturated fats can directly induce cell death in heart muscle cells (cardiomyoctes). Dr. Nicolas Bousette and colleagues from the Montreal Heart Institute in Canada investigated the impact of palmitate (saturated fatty acid) and oleate (unsaturated fatty acid) on cellular fatty acid absorption, triglyceride synthesis, intracellular lipid distribution, endoplasmic reticulum stress, and cell death in primary cardiomyocytes. Results showed that palmitate triggered endoplasmic reticulum stress, an important pathological process in a variety of cardiovascular disorders including diabetic myopathy, which in turn triggered apoptotic cell death. Interestingly, results also showed that co-administration of palmitate and oleate prevented endoplasmic reticulum stress and cell death. The study is the first to validate a critical role for saturated fatty acids in the development of heart disease.
Haffar T, Bérubé-Simard FA, Tardif JC, Bousette N. Saturated fatty acids induce endoplasmic reticulum stress in primary cardiomyocytes. Endoplasm Reticul Stress Dis. 2015;2:53–66.