High concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with the development of atrial fibrillation in the Japanese population

Heart Vessels. 2013 Jul;28(4):497-504. doi: 10.1007/s00380-012-0264-3. Epub 2012 Jun 14.

Abstract

The favorable effect of fish oils rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on the development of atrial fibrillation (AF) is controversial. The relationship between the serum concentrations of n-3 PUFAs and the incidence of AF is unclear; therefore, in the present study, we aimed to elucidate this relationship. We evaluated the serum concentrations of n-3 PUFAs in 110 patients with AF, 46 patients with ischemic heart disease (IHD) and no AF, and 36 healthy volunteers. Thirty-six patients had a history of IHD (IHD-AF group) and 74 did not (L-AF group). The eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) levels in the L-AF group were higher than those in the IHD-AF and control groups (117 ± 64, 76 ± 30, and 68 ± 23 μg/ml, respectively); the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels showed the same pattern (170 ± 50, 127 ± 27, and 126 ± 35 μg/ml, respectively). In both the L-AF and IHD-AF groups, the EPA levels in patients with persistent and permanent AF were higher than those in patients with paroxysmal AF (L-AF 131 ± 74 vs. 105 ± 51 μg/ml; IHD-AF 82 ± 28 vs 70 ± 33 μg/ml). Multivariate analysis showed that cases of AF were associated with higher levels of EPA but not DHA. In this Japanese population study, the EPA and DHA levels in patients with L-AF were higher than those in normal subjects. In particular, the EPA level was associated with the incidence of AF. These findings suggest that an excess of EPA might be a precipitating factor of AF.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / blood*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / ethnology*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / blood
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Myocardial Ischemia / blood
  • Myocardial Ischemia / ethnology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Up-Regulation

Substances

  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid