Omega-3 fatty acids in adipose tissue and risk of myocardial infarction: The EURAMIC study

Eliseo Guallar, Antti Aro, F. Javier Jiménez, José M. Martín-Moreno, Irma Salminen, Pieter Van't Veer, Alwine F.M. Kardinaal, Jorge Gömez-Aracena, Biaise C. Martin, Lenore Kohlmeier, Jeremy D. Kark, Vladimir P. Mazaev, Jetmund Ringstad, José Guillén, Rudolph A. Riemersma, Jussi K. Huttunen, Michael Thamm, Frans J. Kok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


Omega-3 fatty acids have potential antiatherogenic, antithrombotic, and antiarrhythmic properties, but their role in coronary heart disease remains controversial. To evaluate the association of omega-3 fatty acids in adipose tissue with the risk of myocardial infarction in men, a case-control study was conducted in eight European countries and Israel. Cases (n=639) included patients with a first myocardial infarction admitted to coronary care units within 24 hours from the onset of symptoms. Controls (n=700) were selected to represent the populations originating the cases. Adipose tissue levels of fatty acids were determined by capillary gas chromatography. The mean (±SD) proportion of α-linolenic acid was 0.77% (±0.19) of fatty acids in cases and 0.80% (±0.19) of fatty acids in controls (P=0.01). The relative risk for the highest quintile of α-linolenic acid compared with the lowest was 0.42 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.22 to 0.81, P-trend=0.02). After adjusting for classical risk factors, the relative risk for the highest quintile was 0.68 (95% CI 0.31 to 1.49, P-trend=0.38). The mean proportion of docosahexaenoic acid was 0.24% (±0.13) of fatty acids in cases and 0.25% (±0.13) of fatty acids in controls (P=0.14), with no evidence of association with risk of myocardial infarction. In this large case-control study we could not detect a protective effect of docosahexaenoic acid on the risk of myocardial infarction. The protective effect of α-linolenic acid was attenuated after adjusting for classical risk factors (mainly smoking), but it deserves further research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1111-1118
Number of pages8
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipose tissue
  • Case- control studies
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Myocardial infarction
  • α-linolenic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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