Omega-3 fatty acid content in adipose tissue linked to AF risk


It has been found that the level of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in adipose tissue is linked to the risk of atrial fibrillation (AF). These results from a case cohort study were published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation.

For this study, we analyzed data from the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Cohort, which included adults (N = 57,053) without cancer who lived in Copenhagen and Aarhus between 1993 and 1997. Participants completed a lifestyle questionnaire and performed an adipose tissue biopsy of the buttocks. The clinical results up to 2013 were assessed and the risk of atrial fibrillation was compared with a randomly selected subcohort of study participants.

During the 16.9-year follow-up, 5255 cases of atrial fibrillation were recorded; 2920 cases were in men and 1821 in women. The cohorts of men and women with atrial fibrillation included subjects with a median age of 58.1 and 59.4 years at baseline, 22.6% and 26.8% had hypertension and their body mass index (BMI) was 27, 0 and 25.8, respectively. The subcohorts of 1728 and 1478 randomly selected men and women had an average age of 56.3 and 56.2 years, 15.5% and 16.9% hypertension and their BMI 26.4 and 24.70, respectively, at the start of the study, 1 %.

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The median EPA content of adipose tissue was 0.10% (95% CI, 0.05% to 0.20%) in men and 0.09% (95% CI, 0.04% to 0.19%) in Women. Stratified by quintiles of obese EPA content, the risk of atrial fibrillation was 45% lower in the highest quintiles than in the lowest (adjusted hazard ratio.). [aHR], Men: 0.55, 95% CI, 0.41-0.69, women: 0.55, 95% CI, 0.41-0.72.

The median docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) content of adipose tissue was 0.25% (95% CI, 0.12% to 0.51%) in men and 0.28% (95% CI, 0.14% to 0) , 55%) in women. Stratified by quintiles of obese EPA content, the risk of atrial fibrillation in the highest quintiles was 30% lower than in the lowest in women (aHR, 0.70, 95% CI, 0.54–0.91) and did not differ in men (aHR, 0.92; 95th). % CI, 0.74-1.14).

This study was an observational case cohort study that did not assess causality. Additional studies are needed to evaluate the biological mechanism that links atrial fibrillation to the omega-3 fatty acid content in adipose tissue.

These data showed that there was an inverse relationship between EPA levels in adipose tissue and the risk of AF. Women also had a similar relationship between AF and DHA.


Rix TA, Dinesen P, Lundbye-Christensen S, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids in adipose tissue and risk of atrial fibrillation. Eur J Clin Invest. 2021; e13649. doi: 10.1111 / eci.13649


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