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J Intern Med. 2011 Nov;270(5):478-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02401.x. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

Plasma carotenoids are related to intima--media thickness of the carotid artery wall in men from eastern Finland.

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1
Department of Medicine, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland. jouni.karppi@uef.fi

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Several previous epidemiological studies have suggested that high plasma concentrations of carotenoids may slow the development of early atherosclerosis, but results have been inconclusive.

METHODS:

We examined the effect of carotenoids on early atherosclerosis in a population-based study. The association between plasma carotenoid concentrations and intima-media thickness of the common carotid artery (CCA-IMT) was investigated in 1212 elderly men (aged 61-80 years) in Eastern Finland. They were examined by B-mode ultrasound to detect early signs of carotid atherosclerosis, and plasma concentrations of carotenoids were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography.

RESULTS:

Men in the lowest quartile of CCA-IMT had significantly higher concentrations of plasma β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene and α-carotene than men in the highest quartile (P for the differences: 0.043, 0.045 and 0.046, respectively), after adjustment for age, examination year, body mass index, smoking, alcohol intake, years of education, symptomatic coronary heart disease (CHD) or CHD history, diabetes, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, medications and season. The concentrations of plasma β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene and α-carotene decreased linearly with increasing CCA-IMT.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results of this study suggest that high plasma concentrations of β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene and α-carotene may be associated with decreased carotid atherosclerosis in elderly men from eastern Finland.

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