Vitamin E and Porcine Malignant Hyperthermia

  • Khay S. Cheah
Conference paper


In malignant hyperthermia (MH), an increase in the level of myoplasmic free Ca2+ is generally accepted to be the initiator of the syndrome, but the primary cause responsible for this increase has yet to be fully characterized. In MH-susceptible pigs, which are widely used as a model for understanding human MH syndrome, an excess formation of fatty acids [1,2], an abnormality in the excitation-contraction coupling mechanism [3], a defect in the Ca2+ release channel of the sarcoplasmic reticulum [4,5], a defect in membrane integrity [6,7], free radical-mediated peroxidation of membrane lipids [8], and a lower than normal Mg2+ inhibition of the Ca2+ release channel of the sarcoplasmic reticulum [9] have all been postulated to be responsible for the development of porcine MH. Vitamin E supports the idea that porcine MH syndrome is associated with an alteration in membrane permeability induced by fatty acids. Dietary supplementation of vitamin E in the form of dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate reduces the increased leakage of pyruvate kinase and creatine kinase, and normalizes the membrane permeability of skeletal muscle and the rate of glycolysis, and the amount of Ca2+ released in skeletal muscle of MH-susceptible pigs. Vitamin E also reduces the enhanced level of endogenous fatty acids and phospholipase A2 activity of skeletal muscle mitochondria of MH-susceptible pigs to normal, in addition to preventing the formation of meat quality deficiencies associated with the halothane gene. The principal beneficial effect of vitamin E results from its ability to prevent the destabilization of membrane permeability by fatty acids, and probably also from inhibiting phospholipase A2 activity, thereby preventing the increase in the level of myoplasmic Ca2+.


Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Malignant Hyperthermia Malignant Hyperthermia PLA2 Activity Longissimus Dorsi 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khay S. Cheah
    • 1
  1. 1.Agriculture DepartmentUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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