A low ratio of n-3 to n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids has been associated with cardiovascular events. However, the effects of this ratio on coronary atherosclerosis have not been fully examined. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the correlations between the n-3 to n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio and coronary atherosclerosis. Coronary atherosclerosis in nonculprit lesions in the percutaneous coronary intervention vessel was evaluated using virtual histology intravascular ultrasound in 101 patients at the time of percutaneous coronary intervention and 8 months after statin therapy. Forty-six patients (46%) showed atheroma progression and the remaining 55 patients (54%) showed atheroma regression at 8-month follow-up. Significant negative correlations were observed between percentage change in plaque volume and change in the eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/arachidonic acid (AA) ratio (r = -0.190, p = 0.05), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)/AA ratio (r = -0.231, p = 0.02), and EPA+DHA/AA ratio (r = -0.240, p = 0.02). Furthermore, percentage change in the fibrous component volume was negatively and significantly correlated with change in the EPA/AA ratio (r = -0.206, p = 0.04) and EPA+DHA/AA ratio (r = -0.217, p = 0.03). Multivariate regression analysis showed that change in the EPA+DHA/AA ratio was a significant predictor of percentage change in plaque volume and fibrous component volume (β = -0.221, p = 0.02, and β = -0.200, p = 0.04, respectively). In conclusion, decreases in serum n-3 to n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid ratios are associated with progression in coronary atherosclerosis evaluated using virtual histology intravascular ultrasound in statin-treated patients with coronary artery disease.
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