Skip to main content Accessibility help

Background diet influences the anti-inflammatory effect of α-linolenic acid in dyslipidaemic subjects

  • George K. Paschos (a1), Loukianos S. Rallidis (a2), Georgios K. Liakos (a3), Demosthenes Panagiotakos (a1), George Anastasiadis (a4), Vasilios Votteas (a4) and Antonis Zampelas (a1)...


Long-chain n-3 PUFA from fish oils are known to have anti-inflammatory effects. We evaluated the effect of α-linolenic acid (ALA), precursor of n-3 fatty acids, on serum inflammatory markers and soluble cellular adhesion molecules (sCAM) of dyslipidaemic males, relative to their background diet. Participants were assigned to two groups, based upon food intake patterns: (a) twenty-one dyslipidaemic subjects who habitually ate a Mediterranean–Cretan-type diet; (b) nineteen dyslipidaemic subjects who normally ate a Westernised Greek diet. All were supplemented with 8·1 g ALA/d for 12 weeks. We determined serum amyloid A (SAA), C-reactive protein (CRP), macrophage colony-stimulating factor (MCSF), IL-6, soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and soluble E-selectin concentrations at the beginning and the end of the ALA supplementation period. Serum baseline concentrations of inflammatory markers and sCAM were similar across the diet groups. Type of diet had a significant impact on the response of inflammatory markers to ALA supplementation. The Westernised Greek diet group showed a reduction in SAA (P<0·001), CRP (P=0·002), MCSF (P=0·005) and IL-6 (P=0·04) concentrations. The Mediterranean–Cretan-type background diet group showed a significant reduction only in MCSF concentrations (P=0·003). The sVCAM-1 concentrations were significantly reduced in both the Westernised Greek diet group (P=0·001) and the Mediterranean–Cretan-type diet group (P<0·001). The present study demonstrated that ALA supplementation lowered the serum concentrations of inflammatory markers more profoundly when the background diet was rich in saturated fatty acids and poor in MUFA.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Background diet influences the anti-inflammatory effect of α-linolenic acid in dyslipidaemic subjects
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Background diet influences the anti-inflammatory effect of α-linolenic acid in dyslipidaemic subjects
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Background diet influences the anti-inflammatory effect of α-linolenic acid in dyslipidaemic subjects
      Available formats


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Dr Antonis Zampelas, fax +30 210 9549141, email


Hide All
Abe, Y, El-Masri, B, Kimball, KT, Pownall, H, Reilly, CF, Osmundsen, K, Smith, CW & Ballantyne, CM (1998) Soluble cell adhesion molecules in hypertriglyceridemia and potential significance on monocyte adhesion. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 18, 723731.
Ascherio, A, Rimm, EB, Stampfer, MJ, Giovannucci, EL & Willett, WC (1995) Dietary intake of marine n-3 fatty acids, fish intake, and the risk of coronary disease among men. N Engl J Med 332, 977982.
Blok, WL, Deslypere, JP, Demacker, PN, van der Ven-Jongekrijg, J, Hectors, MP, van der Meer, JW, & Katan, MB (1997) Pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in healthy volunteers fed various doses of fish oil for 1 year. Eur J Clin Invest 27, 10031008.
Calder, PC (2001) Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation and immunity. World Rev Nutr Diet 88, 109116.
Caughey, GE, Mantzioris, E, Gibson, RA, Cleland, LG & James, MJ (1996) The effect on human tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 1 beta production of diets enriched in n-3 fatty acids from vegetable oil or fish oil. Am J Clin Nutr 63, 116122.
Clinton, SK, Underwood, R, Hayes, L, Sherman, ML, Kufe, DW & Libby, P (1992) Macrophage colony-stimulating factor gene expression in vascular cells and in experimental and human atherosclerosis. Am J Pathol 140, 301316.
Collie-Duguid, ESR & Wahle, KWJ (1996) Inhibitory effect of fish oil n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on the expression of endothelial cell adhesion molecules. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 220, 969974.
De Caterina, R, Cybulsky, MI, Clinton, SK, Gimbrone, MA Jr, Libby, P (1994) The omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoate reduces cytokine-induced expression of pro-atherogenic and pro-inflammatory proteins in human endothelial cells. Arterioscler Thromb 14, 18291836.
DeGraba, TJ (1997) Expression of inflammatory mediators and adhesion molecules in human atherosclerotic plaque. Neurology 49, 1519.
Endres, S, Ghorbani, R & Kelley, VE (1989) The effect of dietary supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on the synthesis of interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor by mononuclear cells. N Engl J Med 320, 265271.
Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (2001) Executive Summary of The Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III). JAMA 285, 24862497.
Gearing, AJ & Newman, W (1993) Circulating adhesion molecules in disease. Immunol Today 14, 506512.
James, MJ, Gibson, RA & Cleland, LG (2000) Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammatory mediator production. Am J Clin Nutr 71, 343348.
Johansen, O, Seljeflot, I, Hostmark, AT & Arnesen, H (1999) The effect of supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids on soluble markers of endothelial function in patients with coronary heart disease. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 19, 16811686.
Kafatos, A, Verhagen, H, Moschandreas, J, Apostolaki, I, van Westerop, JJ (2000) Mediterranean diet of Crete: foods and nutrient content. J Am Diet Ass 100, 14871493.
Kew, S, Banerjee, T, Minihane, AM, Finnegan, YE, Muggli, R, Albers, R, Williams, CM & Calder, PC (2003) Lack of effect of foods enriched with plant- or marine-derived n-3 fatty acids on human immune function. Am J Clin Nutr 77, 12871295.
Khalfoun, B, Thibault, G, Bardos, P & Lebranchu, Y (1996) Docosahexaenoic and eicosapentaenoic acids inhibit in vitro human lymphocyte-endothelial cell adhesion. Transplantation 62, 16491657.
Langlois, M, Duprez, D, Delanghe, J, De Buyzere, M & Clement, DL (2001) Serum vitamin C concentration is low in peripheral arterial disease and is associated with inflammation and severity of atherosclerosis. Circulation 103, 18631868.
Lewis, B, Hammett, F, Katan, M, Kay, RM, Merkx, I, Nobels, A, Miller, NE & Swan, AV (1981) Towards an improved lipid-lowering diet: additive effects of changes in nutrient intake. Lancet ii, 13101313.
Madsen, T, Christensen, JH, Blom, M & Schmidt, EB (2003) The effect of dietary n-3 fatty acids on serum concentrations of C-reactive protein: a dose–response study. Br J Nutr 89, 517522.
Madsen, T, Skou, HA, Hansen, VE, Fog, L, Christensen, JH, Toft, E & Schmidt, EB (2001) C-reactive protein, dietary n-3 fatty acids, and the extent of coronary artery disease. Am J Cardiol 88, 11391142.
Meek, RL, Urieli-Shoval, S & Benditt, EP (1994) Expression of apolipoprotein serum amyloid A mRNA in human atherosclerotic lesions and cultured vascular cells: implications for serum amyloid A function. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 91, 31863190.
Meydani, SN, Endres, S, Woods, MM, Goldin, BR, Soo, C, Morrill-Labrode, A, Dinarello, CA & Gorbach, SL (1991) Oral (n-3) fatty acid supplementation suppresses cytokine production and lymphocyte proliferation: comparison between young and older women. J Nutr 121, 547555.
Nestle, M (1995) Mediterranean diets: historical and research overview. Am J Clin Nutr 61, 13131320.
Pasceri, V, Willerson, JT & Yeh, ETH (2000) Direct proinflammatory effect of C-reactive protein on human endothelial cells. Circulation 102, 21652168.
Pitsavos, C, Panagiotakos, DB, Chrysohoou, C, Papaioannou, I, Papadimitriou, L, Tousoulis, D, Stefanadis, C & Toutouzas, P (2003) The adoption of Mediterranean diet attenuates the development of acute coronary syndromes in people with the metabolic syndrome. Nutr J 2, 1.
Price, DT & Loscalzo, J (1999) Cellular adhesion molecules and atherogenesis. Am J Med 107, 8597.
Rallidis, LS, Paschos, G, Liakos, GK, Vellissaridou, AH, Anastasiadis, G & Zampelas, A (2003) Dietary α-linolenic acid decreases C-reactive protein, serum amyloid A and interleukin-6 in dyslipidaemic patients. Atherosclerosis 167, 237242.
Ross, R (1999) Atherosclerosis: an inflammatory disease. N Engl J Med 340, 115126.
Schmidt, EB, Varming, K, Moller, JM, Bulow Pedersen, I, Madsen, P, Dyerberg, J (1996) No effect of a very low dose of n-3 fatty acids on monocyte function in healthy humans. Scand J Clin Lab Invest 56, 8792.
Schoenherr, WD & Jewell, DE (1997) Nutritional modification of inflammatory diseases. Semin Vet Med Surg 12, 212222.
Schorah, CJ, Downing, C, Piripitsi, A, Gallivan, L, Al-Hazaa, AH, Sanderson, MJ & Bodenham, A (1996) Total vitamin C, ascorbic acid, and dehydroascorbic acid concentrations in critically ill patients. Am J Clin Nutr 63, 760765.
Seljeflot, I, Arnesen, H, Brude, IR, Nenseter, MS, Drevon, CA & Hjermann, I (1998) Effects of omega-3 fatty acids and/or antioxidants on endothelial cell markers. Eur J Clin Invest 28, 629635.
Thies, F, Miles, EA, Nebe-von-Caron, G, Powell, JR, Hurst, TL, Newsholme, EA & Calder, PC (2001) Influence of dietary supplementation with long-chain n-3 or n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids on blood inflammatory cell populations and functions and on plasma soluble adhesion molecules in healthy adults. Lipids 36, 11831193.
Trichopoulou, A (2000) From research to education: the Greek experience. Nutrition 16, 528531.
Vega-Lopez, S, Kaul, N, Devaraj, S, Cai, RY, German, B & Jialal, I (2004) Supplementation with omega3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and all-rac alpha-tocopherol alone and in combination failed to exert an anti-inflammatory effect in human volunteers. Metabolism 53, 236240.
Weber, C, Erl, W, Pietsch, A, Danesch, U & Weber, PC (1995) Docosahexaenoic acid selectively attenuates induction of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 and subsequent monocytic cell adhesion to human endothelial cells stimulated by tumor necrosis factor-α. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 15, 622628.
Yannakoulia, M, Yiannakouris, N, Bluher, S, Matalas, AL, Klimis-Zacas, D & Mantzoros, CS (2003) Body fat mass and macronutrient intake in relation to circulating soluble leptin receptor, free leptin index, adiponectin, and resistin concentrations in healthy humans. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 88, 17301736.
Yaqoob, P (2002) Monounsaturated fatty acids and immune function. Eur J Clin Nutr 56, 913.
Yaqoob, P, Knapper, JA, Webb, DH, Williams, CM, Newsholme, EA & Calder, PC (1998) Effect of olive oil on immune function in middle-aged men. Am J Clin Nutr 67, 129135.
Yaqoob, P, Pala, HS, Cortina-Borja, M, Newsholme, EA & Calder, PC (2000) Encapsulated fish oil enriched in alpha-tocopherol alters plasma phospholipid and mononuclear cell fatty acid compositions but not mononuclear cell functions. Eur J Clin Invest 30, 260274.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed