Omega-3 fatty acids in adipose tissue and risk of myocardial infarction: the EURAMIC study.Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 1999; 19(4):1111-8AT
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 alpha-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 alpha-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 alpha-linolenic acid was attenuated after adjusting for classical risk factors (mainly smoking), but it deserves further research.