Abstract 4102: A Prospective Study of Trans Fatty Acids in Erythrocytes and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease
Background: High consumption of trans fat has been linked to the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), but few epidemiologic studies have examined the relationship between biomarkers of trans fatty acid intake and the risk of CHD.
Objective: The objective was to assess the hypothesis that higher trans fatty acid levels in erythrocytes are associated with elevated risks of CHD among US women.
Methods: Blood samples were prospectively collected from more than thirty thousand participants of the Nurses’ Health Study in 1989–1990. During 6 years of follow-up, 167 incident cases of CHD were ascertained and matched with 344 controls for age, smoking and fasting status, and time of blood draw. Baseline trans fatty acid levels in erythrocytes as a percentage of total fatty acids were assessed by capillary gas-liquid chromatography.
Results: Total trans fatty acid levels in erythrocytes were significantly correlated with dietary intake of trans fat (Spearman partial correlation coefficient = 0.44). Higher total trans fatty acid levels in erythrocytes were associated with increased plasma LDL cholesterol (Ptrend = 0.06), decreased plasma HDL cholesterol (Ptrend = 0.003), and increased plasma LDL to HDL ratio (Ptrend = 0.007). After adjusting for age, smoking status, and other dietary and lifestyle cardiovascular risk factors, higher total trans fatty acid levels in erythrocytes were associated with elevated risks of CHD. The multivariate relative risks (95% confidence interval) of CHD from the lowest to the highest quartiles of total trans fatty acid levels in erythrocytes were 1.0 (reference), 1.6 (0.7–3.6), 1.6 (0.7–3.5), and 3.3 (1.5–7.3); Ptrend was 0.003. The corresponding relative risks were 1.0, 1.1, 1.3, and 3.3 (Ptrend = 0.001) for total 18:1 trans isomers and 1.0, 1.5, 2.6, and 2.8 (Ptrend = 0.009) for total 18:2 trans isomers.
Conclusions: These biomarker data provide further evidence that high consumption of trans fatty acids is a strong and independent risk factor for CHD.