Dietary plant sterols, such as campesterol and sitosterol, reduce plasma cholesterol concentrations, but any relationship to plaque development and CVD remains unclear. Some epidemiologic studies have suggested that elevated plasma plant sterol concentrations are atherogenic, including the Framingham Offspring Study that identified a positive association between plant sterol concentrations and CVD status. We hypothesized that this suggested atherogenicity relates to the oxidation status of plant sterols (i.e., concentrations of plasma oxyphytosterols). Therefore, in the Framingham Offspring Study cohort, we measured plasma oxyphytosterol concentrations in 144 patients with documented CVD and/or more than 50% carotid stenosis and 383 matched controls. We analyzed plasma oxyphytosterol concentrations by GC/MS/MS and performed conditional logistic regression analysis to determine associations between plasma plant sterol or oxyphytosterol concentrations and CVD status. We found that higher total cholesterol (TC)-standardized campesterol concentrations [odds ratio (OR): 2.36; 95% CI: 1.60, 3.50] and higher sitosterol concentrations (OR: 1.47; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.97) were significantly associated with increased CVD risk, as in the earlier study. However, the sum of absolute oxyphytosterol concentrations (OR: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.81, 1.21) and the sum of TC-standardized oxyphytosterol concentrations (OR: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.80, 1.19) were not associated with an increased CVD risk. Results were comparable for individual absolute and TC-standardized oxycampesterol and oxysitosterol concentrations. Plasma nonoxidized TC-standardized sitosterol and campesterol concentrations showed weak or no correlations with oxyphytosterol concentrations, while all individual plasma concentrations of oxyphytosterol correlated with each other. In conclusion, circulating plasma oxyphytosterols are not associated with CVD risk in the Framingham Offspring Study.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease risk factors; cholesterol; lipids; plant sterols.
Copyright © 2019 Baumgartner et al.