Ethnicity, plasma phospholipid fatty acid composition and inflammatory/endothelial activation biomarkers in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)

B. T. Steffen, L. M. Steffen, R. Tracy, D. Siscovick, D. Jacobs, K. Liu, K. He, N. Q. Hanson, J. A. Nettleton, M. Y. Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES:It has been recognized that certain long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) are involved in inflammation and its resolution. It has also been shown that ethnicity may be a factor in affecting systemic inflammation, and limited evidence suggests it may influence plasma LC-PUFA composition. Given the links among these three factors, we aim to determine ethnicity-based differences in plasma LC-PUFA composition among White, Black, Hispanic and Chinese participants, and whether such differences contribute to variations in markers of inflammation and endothelial activation in a sub-cohort of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).SUBJECTS/METHODS:Plasma phospholipid LC-PUFAs levels (%) were determined in 2848 MESA participants using gas chromatography-flame ionization detection. Enzyme immunoassays determined inflammatory markers levels for high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (n=2848), interleukin-6 (n=2796), soluble tumor necrosis factor-α receptor type 1 (n=998), and endothelial activation markers soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (n=1192) and soluble E-selectin (n=998). The modifying influence of ethnicity was tested by linear regression analysis.RESULTS:Chinese adults were found to have the highest mean levels of plasma eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 1.24%) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 4.95%), and the lowest mean levels of γ-linolenic (0.10%), dihomo-γ- linolenic (DGLA, 2.96%) and arachidonic (10.72%) acids compared with the other ethnicities (all P≤0.01). In contrast, Hispanics had the lowest mean levels of plasma EPA (0.70%) and DHA (3.49%), and the highest levels of DGLA (3.59%; all P≤0.01). Significant differences in EPA and DHA among ethnicities were attenuated following adjustment for dietary non-fried fish and fish oil supplementation. Ethnicity did not modify the associations of LC-PUFAs with markers of inflammation or endothelial activation (all P interaction>0.05).CONCLUSIONS:The absence of a modifying effect of ethnicity indicates that the putative benefits of LC-PUFAs with respect to inflammation are pan-ethnic. Future longitudinal studies may elucidate the origin(s) of ethnicity-based differences in LC-PUFA composition and whether certain patterns, that is, high plasma levels of DGLA and low levels of EPA/DHA, contribute to inflammation-associated health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)600-605
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume66
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the other investigators, staff and participants of the MESA study for their valuable contributions. A full list of participating MESA investigators and institutions can be found at http://www.mesa-nhlbi.org. This research was supported by the following contracts, N01-HC-95159 through N01-HC-95169 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Copyright:
Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • endothelial activation
  • fatty acid
  • inflammation
  • omega-3
  • omega-6
  • race

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