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Circ J. 2013;77(10):2578-85. Epub 2013 Jul 18.

Association between serum levels of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and coronary plaque detected by coronary computed tomography angiography in patients receiving statin therapy.

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Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Hiroshima University Graduate School of Biomedical and Health Sciences.



Intensive lipid-lowering therapy with statins reduces cardiovascular events, but residual cardiovascular risks remain. Intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has been associated with cardiovascular events. We examined the relationships between serum n-3 PUFAs and coronary atherosclerotic findings on computed tomography angiography (CTA) in patients undergoing statin treatment.


We enrolled 172 subjects (mean age: 68.2 years; 64% men) prior to statin treatment for 6 months. Serum PUFAs, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and arachidonic acid, were measured. When the patients were divided into 2 groups according to the median EPA level (61.3 μg/ml), the low-EPA group showed higher incidences of 3-vessel plaque involvement (62% vs. 43%, P=0.015), noncalcified plaques (NCPs) (74% vs. 52%, P=0.0016), extensive NCPs (≥ 2 segments) (56% vs. 34%, P=0.0036), and high-risk plaques (minimum CT density <39 HU and remodeling index >1.05) (43% vs. 22%, P=0.0034). Multivariate analyses revealed that low EPA levels were an independent factor for these coronary plaque findings. The DHA levels were not independently associated with these findings.


Low serum EPA level, but not serum DHA, is associated with the presence and extent of NCPs and high-risk plaques detected by coronary CTA in patients undergoing lipid-lowering therapy with statins. 

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