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Omega-3 fatty acids in adipose tissue and risk of myocardial infarction: The EURAMIC study

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Author: Guallar, E. · Aro, A. · Jiménez, F.J. · Martín-Moreno, J.M. · Salminen, I. · Veer, P. van 't · Kardinaal, A.F.M. · Gömez-Aracena, J. · Martin, B.C. · Kohlmeier, L. · Kark, J.D. · Mazaev, V.P. · Ringstad, J. · Guillén, J. · Riemersma, R.A. · Huttunen, J.K. · Thamm, M. · Kok, F.J.
Source:Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 4, 19, 1111-1118
Identifier: 234986
Keywords: α-linolenic acid · Adipose tissue · Case- control studies · Docosahexaenoic acid · Myocardial infarction · docosahexaenoic acid · linoleic acid · omega 3 fatty acid · adipose tissue · antiarrhythmic activity · article · atherogenesis · capillary gas chromatography · case control study · cell membrane · cigarette smoking · Europe · fatty acid metabolism · heart infarction · human · Israel · major clinical study · priority journal · risk assessment · risk factor · thrombosis · Adipose Tissue · Aged · Case-Control Studies · Europe · Fatty Acids, Omega-3 · Humans · Male · Middle Aged · Myocardial Infarction · Random Allocation · Risk Factors


Omega-3 fatty acids have potential antiatherogenic, antithrombotic, and antiarrhythmic properties, but their role in coronary heart disease remains controversial. To evaluate the association of omega-3 fatty acids in adipose tissue with the risk of myocardial infarction in men, a case-control study was conducted in eight European countries and Israel. Cases (n=639) included patients with a first myocardial infarction admitted to coronary care units within 24 hours from the onset of symptoms. Controls (n=700) were selected to represent the populations originating the cases. Adipose tissue levels of fatty acids were determined by capillary gas chromatography. The mean (±SD) proportion of α-linolenic acid was 0.77% (±0.19) of fatty acids in cases and 0.80% (±0.19) of fatty acids in controls (P=0.01). The relative risk for the highest quintile of α-linolenic acid compared with the lowest was 0.42 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.22 to 0.81, P-trend=0.02). After adjusting for classical risk factors, the relative risk for the highest quintile was 0.68 (95% CI 0.31 to 1.49, P-trend=0.38). The mean proportion of docosahexaenoic acid was 0.24% (±0.13) of fatty acids in cases and 0.25% (±0.13) of fatty acids in controls (P=0.14), with no evidence of association with risk of myocardial infarction. In this large case-control study we could not detect a protective effect of docosahexaenoic acid on the risk of myocardial infarction. The protective effect of α-linolenic acid was attenuated after adjusting for classical risk factors (mainly smoking), but it deserves further research.