High habitual dietary alpha-linolenic acid intake is associated with decreased plasma soluble interleukin-6 receptor concentrations in male twins.

Dai J, Ziegler TR, Bostick RM, Manatunga AK, Jones DP, Goldberg J, Miller A, Vogt G, Wilson PW, Jones L, Shallenberger L, Vaccarino V
Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 92 (1): 177-85

PMID: 20463041 · PMCID: PMC2884325 · DOI:10.3945/ajcn.2010.29305

BACKGROUND - alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA) is associated with a low risk of cardiovascular disease; however, the underlying mechanism is not completely known.

OBJECTIVE - The objective was to examine whether habitual dietary ALA intake is associated with plasma concentrations of inflammatory biomarkers after control for shared genetic and common environmental factors.

DESIGN - We cross-sectionally studied 353 middle-aged male twins. Habitual diet was assessed with the Willett food-frequency questionnaire. Fasting plasma concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and its soluble receptor (sIL-6R), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) were measured. Linear mixed-effect regression analysis was used to partition the overall association into within- and between-pair associations.

RESULTS - A 1-g increment in habitual dietary ALA intake was associated with 11.0% lower concentrations of sIL-6R (P = 0.004) but not of IL-6 (P = 0.31), TNF-alpha (P = 0.16), or hsCRP (P = 0.36) after adjustment for energy intake, nutritional factors, known cardiovascular disease risk factors, and medications. After further control for shared genetic and common environmental factors by comparison of brothers within a twin pair, a twin with a 1-g higher ALA intake was likely to have 10.9% (95% CI: 3.7%, 17.6%; P = 0.004) lower sIL-6R concentrations than his co-twin with a low intake, whereas ALA intake was not significantly associated with plasma concentrations of IL-6, TNF-alpha, or hsCRP. These results were validated by using 1000 bootstrap samples.

CONCLUSIONS - Habitual dietary ALA intake is inversely associated with plasma sIL-6R concentrations independent of shared genetic and common environmental influences. Lowering sIL-6R may be a mechanism underlying the cardioprotective properties of habitual dietary ALA. This study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00017836.

MeSH Terms (21)

alpha-Linolenic Acid C-Reactive Protein Cardiovascular Diseases Depression Diet Dietary Supplements Energy Intake Fatty Acids Humans Interleukin-6 Life Style Lipids Male Middle Aged Receptors, Interleukin-6 Risk Factors Surveys and Questionnaires Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha Twins, Dizygotic Twins, Monozygotic Waist-Hip Ratio

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