Background: Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are inversely related to coronary heart disease (CHD) in epidemiological studies. We examined the associations of plasma n-6 and n-3 PUFA in cholesteryl esters with fatal CHD in a nested case-control study. Additionally, we performed a dose-response meta-analysis of similar prospective studies on cholesteryl ester PUFA. Methods: We used data from two population-based cohort studies in Dutch adults aged 20-65y. Blood and data collection took place from 1987-1997 and subjects were followed for 8-19y. We identified 279 incident cases of fatal CHD and randomly selected 279 controls, matched on age, gender, and enrollment date. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated per standard deviation (SD) increase of cholesteryl ester PUFA. Results: After adjustment for confounders, the OR (95% CI) for fatal CHD per SD increase in plasma linoleic acid was 0.89 (0.74-1.06). Additional adjustment for plasma total cholesterol and systolic blood pressure attenuated this association (OR:0.95; 95% CI: 0.78-1.15). Arachidonic acid was not associated with fatal CHD (OR per SD:1.11; 95% CI: 0.92-1.35). The ORs (95% CI) for fatal CHD for an SD increase in n-3 PUFA were 0.92 (0.74-1.15) for alpha-linolenic acid and 1.06 (0.88-1.27) for EPA-DHA. In the meta-analysis, a 5% higher linoleic acid level was associated with a 9% lower risk (relative risk: 0.91; 95% CI: 0.84-0.98) of CHD. The other fatty acids were not associated with CHD. Conclusion: In this Dutch population, n-6 and n-3 PUFA in cholesteryl esters were not significantly related to fatal CHD. Our data, together with findings from previous prospective studies, support that linoleic acid in plasma cholesteryl is inversely associated with CHD.
- alpha-linolenic acid