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Eur J Epidemiol. 2008;23(3):175-90. doi: 10.1007/s10654-007-9218-y. Epub 2008 Jan 16.

Association of fatty acids in serum phospholipids with lung function and bronchial hyperresponsiveness in adults.

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  • 1Institute of Epidemiology, GSF - National Research Center for Environment and Health, P.O. Box 1129, 85758, Neuherberg, Germany.



The dietary intake of certain fatty acids might have an impact on inflammatory processes in the lung and therefore contribute to the development of lung diseases like asthma or COPD.


In this study data from a population based cross-sectional study on respiratory health including measurement of fatty acids in serum phospholipids of 593 adults between 20 and 64 years of age were analyzed.


Statistically significant positive associations were found between percentage predicted FEV1 (P = 0.0085) and FVC (P = 0.0267) and docosahexaenoic acid concentration in serum phospholipids in men. Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid content in serum phospholipids was significantly negatively associated with percentage predicted FEV1 (P = 0.0003) and FVC (P = 0.0045) and transformed dose-response slopes (P = 0.0488) in men. Palmitoleic acid was negatively associated with percentage predicted FEV1 (P = 0.0037) and FVC (P = 0.0029) in men. Other fatty acids in serum phospholipids did not consistently affect lung function parameters or bronchial hyperreactivity.


A high concentration of docosahexaenoic acid in serum phospholipids may have a protective effect on lung function. Because this long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid is almost exclusively derived from marine oils, fish might have a beneficial effect on lung diseases.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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