Change in saturated fat intake is associated with progression of carotid and femoral intima-media thickness, and with levels of soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1.Atherosclerosis 2002; 163(1):113-20A
A high saturated fat (SFA) intake may stimulate progression of atherosclerosis, and may be positively associated with expression of adhesion molecules.
In moderately hypercholesterolaemic participants of a dietary intervention study (n=103; 55+/-10 years), we examined associations between reported changes in SFA intake and changes in carotid and femoral intima-media thickness (IMT) and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) levels after 2 years. The carotid and femoral IMT was assessed by high-resolution B-mode ultrasound images.
After 2 years, dietary intake of SFA decreased with 1.8+/-2.6% of energy (P<0.01). In the lowest quintile of change in SFA intake (-5.9+/-1.4% of energy), changes in carotid and femoral IMT were +0.03 mm (SEM 0.03) and -0.09 mm (SEM 0.07), respectively, versus +0.10 mm (SEM 0.03), +0.17 mm (SEM 0.07) in the top quintile (+1.6+/-0.7% of energy) (P linear trend 0.07 (carotis), 0.02 (femoralis)). Changes in sICAM-1 were -19.0 ng/nl (SEM 5.6) in the lowest quintile, versus +8.6 ng/ml (SEM 5.3) in the top quintile (P linear trend <0.001), adjusted for baseline level, SFA intake, body mass index, age, changes in intake of fruit, polyunsaturated fat, and dietary cholesterol. Adjustments for changes in established risk factors did not alter these results.
Decreased SFA intake may reduce progression of atherosclerosis, as assessed by IMT, and is associated with reduced levels of sICAM-1 after 2 years. Further research using randomised placebo-controlled trials is necessary to exclude potential confounding variables and to confirm causality.