Effects of docosahexaenoic Acid on the endothelial function in patients with coronary artery disease

J Atheroscler Thromb. 2015;22(5):447-54. doi: 10.5551/jat.26914. Epub 2014 Oct 24.


Aim: The consumption of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), including docosahexaenoic acid DHA), reduces the incidence of cardiovascular events, and reduced serum levels of n-3 PUFA may be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. However, controversy remains regarding which components of PUFA are associated with the endothelial function in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). We therefore examined the associations between the n-3 and n-6 PUFA levels and CAD.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 160 consecutive Japanese patients with CAD whose endothelial function was measured according to the percent change in flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and the serum levels of n-3 PUFA, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA, and n-6 PUFA, including arachidonic acid (AA) and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DHLA).

Results: A single regression analysis showed no relationships between the FMD and the serum levels of PUFA, including EPA, DHA, AA and DHLA. In contrast, a multiple regression analysis showed that the DHA level was a positive (< 0.01) and age was a negative (P < 0.001) contributor to an increased FMD; however, sex, body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, current/past smoking and the levels of HbA1c, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, EPA, AA and DHLA did not significantly affect the outcome.

Conclusions: The serum level of DHA is associated with the endothelial function evaluated according to the FMD in patients with CAD, thus suggesting that a low serum level of DHA may be a predictive biomarker for endothelial dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Docosahexaenoic Acids