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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Mar;67(3):259-63. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.10. Epub 2013 Feb 6.

Long-term reproducibility of plasma alkylresorcinols as biomarkers of whole-grain wheat and rye intake within Northern Sweden Health and Disease Study Cohort.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala, Sweden. rikard.landberg@lmv.slu.se



Alkylresorcinols (AR) have been suggested as specific biomarkers of whole-grain (WG) and bran intake from wheat and rye. Before using plasma AR as biomarkers in prospective cohort studies, the long-term reproducibility needs to be determined in order to judge how well a single plasma sample reflects the long-term concentration. The objective was therefore to estimate the reproducibility of plasma AR concentrations over 0.1-3.9 years.


The concentrations of AR homologues were analysed in plasma samples, drawn>8 h since last meal, 0.1-3.9 years apart (mean ≈ 2 years) in 74 participants in the Swedish prospective Västerbotten Intervention Project cohort. Reproducibility was estimated by calculating the intra class correlation coefficient (ICC).


Fasting plasma AR concentrations were similar between the first and second measurements. The ICC for total AR was 0.54 (95% confidence interval (CI)=0.38-0.69] overall, 0.34 (95% CI=0.13-0.64) for men and 0.73 (95% CI=0.56-0.85) for women, respectively. Somewhat higher ICCs were obtained for shorter AR homologues.


In summary, the reproducibility of plasma AR over 0.1-3.9 years was high for women and moderate for men within this population. Together with previous data showing high validity of plasma AR as biomarkers of wheat and rye in different populations, the current finding suggest that this biomarker is stable over a long-time period and is therefore probably useful for assessment of long-term WG intake in populations with a wide intake range and a frequent intake.

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