Introduction: Inflammation and inflammatory biomarkers have emerged as integral components and predictors of incident cardiovascular (CV) disease. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (EPA and DHA) have anti-inflammatory properties, and have been variably associated with lower blood pressure, favorable blood lipid changes, and reduced CV events.
Methods and results: We examined the cross-sectional association of red blood cell (RBC) fatty acids, representative of body membrane fatty acid composition, with 10 biomarkers active in multiple inflammatory pathways in 2724 participants (mean age 66 ± 9 years, 54% women, 8% minorities) from the Framingham Offspring and minority Omni Cohorts. After multivariable adjustment, the RBC EPA and DHA content was inversely correlated (all P ≤ 0.001) with 8 biomarkers: urinary isoprostanes (r = -0.16); and soluble interleukin-6 (r = -0.10); C-reactive protein (r = -0.08); tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (r = -0.08); intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (r = -0.08); P-selectin (r = -0.06); lipoprotein-associated phospholipase-A2 mass (r = -0.11) and activity (r = -0.08). The correlations for monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 was -0.05, P = 0.006 and osteoprotegerin (r = -0.06, P = 0.002) were only nominally significant.
Conclusion: In our large community-based study, we observed modest inverse associations between several types of inflammatory biomarkers with RBC omega-3 fatty acid levels. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties.
Keywords: Biomarkers; Cross-sectional study; Inflammation; Omega-3 fatty acids.
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