Lipids and cardiovascular/metabolic health

Whole-blood fatty acids and inflammation in European children: the IDEFICS Study

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Abstract

Background/Objectives:

Fatty acids are hypothesized to influence cardiovascular disease risk because of their effect on inflammation. The aim of this study is to assess the relationship between whole-blood fatty acids (WBFAs) and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) in European children.

Subjects/Methods:

A total of 1401 subjects (697 boys and 704 girls) aged between 2 and 9 years from the IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health EFfects in Children and infantS) study were measured in this cross-sectional analysis. The sample was divided into three categories of hs-CRP. Associations between WBFA and hs-CRP were assessed by logistic regression models adjusting for body mass index (BMI), country, age, breastfeeding, mother’s education and hours of physical activity.

Results:

Linoleic acid (LA) (P=0.013, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.822–0.977) and sum of n-6 WBFA (P=0.029, 95% CI: 0.866–0.992) concentrations were associated with lower concentrations of hs-CRP in boys. In girls, a high ratio of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/arachidonic acid (AA) was associated (P=0.018, 95% CI: 0.892–0.989) with lower hs-CRP concentrations. In contrast, sum of blood n-6 highly unsaturated fatty acids (P=0.012, 95% CI: 1.031–1.284), AA (P=0.007, 95% CI: 1.053–1.395) and AA/LA ratio (P=0.005, 95% CI: 1.102–1.703) were associated (P<0.05) with higher concentrations of hs-CRP in girls.

Conclusions:

The n-6 WBFAs (sum of n-6 FA and LA) were associated with lower hs-CRP in boys and with higher hs-CRP in girls (AA, sum of n-6 highly unsaturated and AA/LA ratio). More studies are needed to identify the optimal levels of WBFAs to avoid low-grade inflammation in children considering the differences by sex and BMI.

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Acknowledgements

This work was done as part of the IDEFICS Study and was published on behalf of its European Consortium (http://www.idefics.eu). The information in this document reflects the views of the authors and is provided as is. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the European Community within the Sixth RTD Framework Programme Contract No. 016181 (FOOD). Isabelle Sioen is financially supported by the Research Foundation–Flanders (Grant No. 1.2.683.14.N.00).

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Correspondence to E M González-Gil.

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Supplementary Information accompanies this paper on European Journal of Clinical Nutrition website

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González-Gil, E., Santabárbara, J., Siani, A. et al. Whole-blood fatty acids and inflammation in European children: the IDEFICS Study. Eur J Clin Nutr 70, 819–823 (2016) doi:10.1038/ejcn.2015.219

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