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*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 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

Keywords

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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