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Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(4):500-9. doi: 10.1080/01635580802710717.

Correlation between serum phospholipid fatty acids and dietary intakes assessed a few years earlier.

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  • 1INSERM, ERI-20, Université Paris XI, EA 4045, Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France.


The fatty acid composition of serum phospholipids has been shown to reflect dietary intakes in the previous weeks or months. However, how serum phospholipids relate to fatty acid intakes over a few years has hardly been examined. We designed a cross-sectional study within the E3N cohort, the French component of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition in which female participants completed a 208-item diet history questionnaire in 1993-1995 and provided blood samples in 1995-1998. The study included 1,114 women who were free of cancer at the time of blood collection. Serum phospholipid fatty acid composition was assessed by capillary gas chromatography. Partial Spearman correlations adjusted for age and body mass index showed weak to moderate, although statistically significant, positive associations between dietary and serum oleic, linoleic, arachidonic, eicosapentaenoic, and docosahexaenoic acids. Moreover, serum oleic acid was directly associated with olive oil, linoleic acid with sunflower oil, pentadecanoic acid with dairy products, long-chain n-3 fatty acids with fatty fish, and trans-monounsaturated fatty acids with manufactured foods. In conclusion, serum phospholipid pentadecanoic acid, oleic, trans-monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids are suitable biomarkers for usual dietary intakes, although the association may weaken as the time lag between dietary assessment and blood collection increases.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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