Obesity modifies the association between plasma phospholipid polyunsaturated fatty acids and markers of inflammation: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

B. T. Steffen, L. M. Steffen, R. Tracy, D. Siscovick, N. Q. Hanson, J. Nettleton, M. Y. Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and Objective: Systemic inflammation is a well-known risk factor for diseases such as atherosclerosis and is augmented by the presence of obesity. In addition, it has been shown that inflammation may be negatively influenced by certain macronutrients, specifically the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The primary aim of this study is to determine whether obesity modifies the association between plasma phospholipid polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and markers of inflammation and endothelial activation in Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) participants.Subjects:A sample of 2848 adults (25% African American, Chinese, Hispanic, and White) randomly selected from the MESA cohort.Measurements:Relative plasma PUFA concentrations were determined using gas chromatography-flame ionization detection. Levels of three inflammatory markers (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor-receptor 1) and two endothelial activation markers (soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) and E-selectin) were determined with enzyme immunoassays. Linear regression analysis was used to evaluate the relationship between these markers and plasma PUFAs. Results: Obesity modified the associations of linoleic acid (Pint 0.01), dihomo-γ- linolenic (P int 0.07) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (Pint 0.04) with sICAM-1 concentrations; in addition, obesity modified the association of IL-6 with dihomo-γ-linolenic (Pint 0.01). In obese individuals, sICAM-1 was inversely related to EPA levels (P=0.02), but directly related to linoleic acid levels (P=0.001). Conversely, sICAM-1 was inversely related to linoleic acid levels in normal weight individuals (P=0.04). IL-6 concentrations were significantly and directly related to dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA) in normal weight (P=0.01) and obese participants (P=0.001), but the scale of increase across tertiles was greater in obese adults. Main effects of fatty acid and inflammatory marker associations are also reported.Conclusion:The modifying effect of obesity on the association of plasma PUFAs with IL-6 and sICAM-1 suggests differences in fatty acid metabolism and may also have implications in dietary fatty acid intake for obese individuals, particularly for linoleic and EPAs. Further study is warranted to confirm and explain the strong associations of DGLA with inflammatory and endothelial activation markers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)797-804
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Volume36
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 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 study was supported by the following contracts, N01-HC-95159 through N01-HC-95169 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Keywords

  • epidemiology
  • fatty acids
  • inflammation
  • omega-3

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