Dietary patterns are associated with biochemical markers of inflammation and endothelial activation in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)

Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jun;83(6):1369-79. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/83.6.1369.


Background: Dietary patterns may influence cardiovascular disease risk through effects on inflammation and endothelial activation.

Objective: We examined relations between dietary patterns and markers of inflammation and endothelial activation.

Design: At baseline, diet (food-frequency questionnaire) and concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL-6), homocysteine, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), and soluble E selectin were assessed in 5089 nondiabetic participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.

Results: Four dietary patterns were derived by using factor analysis. The fats and processed meats pattern (fats, oils, processed meats, fried potatoes, salty snacks, and desserts) was positively associated with CRP (P for trend < 0.001), IL-6 (P for trend < 0.001), and homocysteine (P for trend = 0.002). The beans, tomatoes, and refined grains pattern (beans, tomatoes, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products) was positively related to sICAM-1 (P for trend = 0.007). In contrast, the whole grains and fruit pattern (whole grains, fruit, nuts, and green leafy vegetables) was inversely associated with CRP, IL-6, homocysteine (P for trend < or = 0.001), and sICAM-1 (P for trend = 0.034), and the vegetables and fish pattern (fish and dark-yellow, cruciferous, and other vegetables) was inversely related to IL-6 (P for trend = 0.009). CRP, IL-6, and homocysteine relations across the fats and processed meats and whole grains and fruit patterns were independent of demographics and lifestyle factors and were not modified by race-ethnicity. CRP and homocysteine relations were independent of waist circumference.

Conclusions: These results corroborate previous findings that empirically derived dietary patterns are associated with inflammation and show that these relations in an ethnically diverse population with unique dietary habits are similar to findings in more homogeneous populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atherosclerosis / etiology*
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • E-Selectin / blood
  • Ethnicity*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States


  • Biomarkers
  • E-Selectin
  • Interleukin-6
  • C-Reactive Protein