Haemostatic function and platelet polyunsaturated fatty acids in Eskimos

Lancet. 1979 Sep 1;2(8140):433-5. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(79)91490-9.


Death from cardiovascular disease is rare among Eskimos. Haemostasis was investigated in twenty-one Greeland Eskimos and twenty-one age and sex matched Danish controls. Platelet lipid analysis demonstrated that a high consumption of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (such as cis 5, 8, 11, 14, 17-eicosapentaenoic acid [C20:5]) by Eskimos increased the proportion of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the platelets. The Eskimos had a significantly longer bleeding-time due to a reduction in platelet aggregation. It is suggested that C20:5 in the platelets is converted by the vascular-wall tissue to an anti-aggregatory prostacyclin. Partial dietary substitution of arachidonic acid by eicosapentaenoic acid may reduce the incidence of thrombotic disorders, including myocardial infarction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Cell Count
  • Blood Coagulation Tests
  • Blood Coagulation*
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism*
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control
  • Denmark
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Eicosanoic Acids / blood*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / blood*
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Greenland
  • Humans
  • Inuits*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Platelet Aggregation*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Eicosanoic Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Fibrinolytic Agents