Relationships of Fatty Acids, Delta-5 Desaturase Activity, and Lipid Profiles in Men with Acute Coronary Syndrome

J Atheroscler Thromb. 2020 Nov 1;27(11):1216-1229. doi: 10.5551/jat.55780. Epub 2020 Jun 27.


Aims: We evaluated the relationship between the ratios of eicosapentaenoic acid and arachidonic acid (EPA/AA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)/AA, and delta-5 desaturase activity (D5D) and atherogenic lipid profiles (ALP) and coronary atherosclerosis.

Methods: Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and ALP were assessed in 436 men with the first episode of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) not take any lipid-lowering drugs. D5D was estimated as the ratio of AA to dihomogamma-linolenic acid (DGLA). These biomarkers were compared between the lower and higher levels of EPA/AA (0.41) or DHA/AA (0.93) according to the levels in Japanese general population. The thrombolysis in myocardial infarction flow (TIMI) grade of the culprit coronary artery was visually estimated during the initial angiography.

Results: Approximately 70% of patients had low EPA/AA or DHA/AA. Serum levels of LDL-cholesterol, apolipoprotein B (apoB), and remnant lipoprotein cholesterol (RL-C) were significantly higher in the low EPA/AA or DHA/AA groups, while those of triglycerides and malondialdehyde-modified LDL (MDA-LDL) were significantly higher in the low EPA/AA group alone. The levels of EPA, EPA/AA, DHA/AA, and HbA1c increased and those of DGLA and apoA1 decreased with increasing number of stenotic vessels. Patients with three stenotic coronary vessels or TIMI grade ≥ 1 had significantly higher EPA levels compared with the others. The levels of LDL-cholesterol, non-HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, small dense LDL-cholesterol, RL-C, MDA-LDL, apoB, and apoE decreased progressively and those of EPA, DHA, EPA/AA and HDL-cholesterol increased as D5D increased.

Conclusions: The EPA/AA is a superior risk marker than DHA/AA in term of correlation with ALP in ACS patients.

Keywords: Acute coronary syndrome; Arachidonic acid; Delta-5; Docosahexaenoic acid; Eicosapentaenoic acid.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Aged
  • Angiography
  • Apolipoproteins E / metabolism
  • Arachidonic Acid / blood
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol, HDL / metabolism
  • Coronary Artery Disease / metabolism*
  • Coronary Vessels
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delta-5 Fatty Acid Desaturase
  • Diet
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / blood
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / blood
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Risk Factors


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Biomarkers
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Delta-5 Fatty Acid Desaturase
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Lipids
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases