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Omega-3 fatty acids, polymorphisms and lipid related cardiovascular disease risk factors in the Inuit population

Iwona Rudkowska12, Catherine Ouellette1, Eric Dewailly3, Robert A Hegele4, Véronique Boiteau3, Ariane Dubé-Linteau3, Belkacem Abdous3, Françoise Proust3, Yves Giguère3, Pierre Julien2, Marie-Ludivine Château-Degat3 and Marie-Claude Vohl12*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF), Laval University, 2440, boulevard Hochelaga, Québec, QC, Canada

2 Laboratory of Endocrinology and Nephrology, Laval University Hospital Research Center, Quebec, QC, Canada

3 Laboratory of Population and Environmental Health, Laval University Hospital Research Center, Quebec, QC, Canada

4 Robarts Research Institute, London, ON, Canada

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2013, 10:26  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-10-26

Published: 12 March 2013



Tissue concentrations of fatty acids (FAs) and genetic variations are well-known factors which affect the cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. The objective was to examine whether the genetic variability of 20 candidate genes and red blood cells (RBCs) percentage of total n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), a biomarker of dietary n-3 PUFA intake, modulate lipid related CVD risk factors in the Inuit population.


Data from the Qanuippitaa Nunavik Health Survey (n = 553) were analysed via multivariate regression models with 40 known polymorphisms, RBCs percentage of n-3 PUFA, and the interaction term to take into account the effect on plasma lipid and apolipoporotein levels.


Individuals being heterozygotes for CETP C-4502T (rs183130) or G-971A (rs4783961) together with higher n-3 PUFA had lower triacylglycerol (TG) concentrations compared to homozygotes for the minor allele. Further, effects of a stronger beneficial association between n-3 PUFA in RBCs and plasma lipid parameters- including lower total cholesterol (TC), lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) or higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentrations- were associated with AGT M235T (rs699) TT genotype, CETP G-971A (rs4783961) AG genotype, T allele carriers of CETP C-4502T (rs183130), and T allele carriers of CETP Ile405Val (rs5882). In contrast, higher n-3 PUFA in RBCs were associated with adverse lipid profiles- including increased LDL-C, increased apolipoprotein B100 or decreased HDL-C concentrations- in G allele carriers of the APOA5 -3 A/G (rs651821), C allele carriers of APOA5 T-1131C (rs662799), G carriers of APOC3 SstI (rs5128) and G carriers of APOA4 Asn147Ser (rs5104).


Overall, these results suggest that percentage of total n-3 PUFA of RBCs are associated with lipids related CVD risk factors conferred by genetic variations in the Inuit population.

Nutrigenetics; n-3 PUFAs; Plasma lipids; Gene-nutrient interactions