N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the treatment of atherogenic dyslipidemia.

BACKGROUND: Atherogenic dyslipidemia contributes substantially to the residual cardiovascular risk. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of therapeutic doses of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on the three major lipid abnormalities of atherogenic dyslipidemia, i.e. hypertriacylglycerolemia, low HDL cholesterol, and increased levels of small dense LDL particles, as well as on some new risk factors.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 60 hypertriacylglycerolemic patients were included in the study. Group S consisted of 36 patients who were already treated with statins, Group N of 24 patients not yet treated. Each patient was examined after six weeks on placebo and six weeks of treatment with n-3 PUFA (eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid ethyl esters, 3.0 g/d).

RESULTS: Treatment with n-3 PUFA caused a decrease in plasma triacylglycerols (28%, p<0.001), and VLDL (-27%, p<0.001), an increase in HDL-C (+4%, p<0.01), and a decrease in sdLDL cholesterol (-16%, p<0.05). These changes were accompanied by a decrease in microalbuminuria (-30%, p<0.05), as well as in several parameters of oxidative stress. Analysis of the fatty acids composition of plasma phospholipids showed a significant increase in all n-3 PUFAs examined, accompanied by a decrease in n-6 PUFAs, as well as in monounsaturated acids. No significant differences in the effects of n-3 PUFA were found between the Groups S and N.

CONCLUSION: Our results support the opinion that hypertriacylglycerolemic patients benefit from the treatment with n-3 PUFA which improves several important metabolic factors of cardiovascular risk.

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