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Cerebrovasc Dis. 2013;36(5-6):388-93. doi: 10.1159/000355683. Epub 2013 Nov 15.

Low serum n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid/n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio predicts neurological deterioration in Japanese patients with acute ischemic stroke.

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Division of Neurology, Department of Internal Medicine, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan.



Epidemiological and clinical trials have shown that n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease or stroke. However, the association between PUFAs and acute-phase stroke has not yet been thoroughly studied. We investigated the impact of serum PUFAs on early neurological deterioration (END) in patients with acute ischemic stroke.


In this retrospective study, we enrolled 281 Japanese patients (mean age: 75 ± 13 years; 165 males) with acute ischemic stroke diagnosed within 24 h of onset. General blood examinations, including PUFAs (n-3 PUFAs: eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, and n-6 PUFAs: arachidonic acid, AA), were performed on admission. Other risk factors and comorbidities were also examined. END was defined as a ≥2-point increase in the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score within a 72-hour period. Statistical significance between the END and non-END group was assessed using Wilcoxon rank sum tests or Student's t tests for categorical variables. Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed to identify predictors of END.


END was observed in 75 patients (26.7%). Diabetes mellitus (p = 0.003), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) level (p < 0.001), prior stroke (p = 0.035), ischemic heart disease (p = 0.029), EPA/AA ratio (p = 0.003), DHA/AA ratio (p = 0.002), EPA+DHA/AA ratio (p = 0.002), diagnosis of small vessel disease (p = 0.004) and admission NIHSS score (p < 0.001) were significantly associated with END. We used separate multiple logistic regression analyses for the EPA/AA, DHA/AA and EPA+DHA/AA ratios, because EPA and DHA are considered covariant factors (r = 0.544; p < 0.0001). Multiple logistic regression analyses showed that END was positively associated with diabetes mellitus, hs-CRP level and NIHSS score on admission, and negatively associated with the EPA/AA ratio (odds ratio, OR: 0.18; 95% confidence interval, CI: 0.05-0.58; p = 0.003), DHA/AA ratio (OR: 0.045; 95% CI: 0.006-0.30; p = 0.001), EPA+DHA/AA ratio (OR: 0.45; 95% CI: 0.26-0.74; p = 0.002) and diagnosis of small vessel disease.


Our data suggest that a low serum n-3 PUFA/n-6 PUFA ratio on admission may predict neurological deterioration in Japanese patients with acute ischemic stroke. Large-scale prospective studies are further required to clarify the role of PUFAs in the acute phase of ischemic stroke.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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