European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 175–190 | Cite as

Association of fatty acids in serum phospholipids with lung function and bronchial hyperresponsiveness in adults

  • Iris KompauerEmail author
  • Hans Demmelmair
  • Berthold Koletzko
  • Gabriele Bolte
  • Jakob Linseisen
  • Joachim Heinrich


Background The dietary intake of certain fatty acids might have an impact on inflammatory processes in the lung and therefore contribute to the development of lung diseases like asthma or COPD. Methods In this study data from a population based cross-sectional study on respirator y health including measurement of fatty acids in serum phospholipids of 593 adults between 20 and 64 years of age were analyzed. Results Statistically significant positive associations were found between percentage predicted FEV1 (P = 0.0085) and FVC (P = 0.0267) and docosahexaenoic acid concentration in serum phospholipids in men. Dihomo-γ-linolenic acid content in serum phospholipids was significantly negatively associated with percentage predicted FEV1 (P = 0.0003) and FVC (P = 0.0045) and transformed dose-response slopes (P = 0.0488) in men. Palmitoleic acid was negatively associated with percentage predicted FEV1 (P = 0.0037) and FVC (P = 0.0029) in men. Other fatty acids in serum phospholipids did not consistently affect lung function parameters or bronchial hyperreactivity. Conclusion A high concentration of docosahexaenoic acid in serum phospholipids may have a protective effect on lung function. Because this long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid is almost exclusively derived from marine oils, fish might have a beneficial effect on lung diseases.


Bronchial hyperresponsiveness Lung function Fatty acids ECRHS 



Bronchial hyperresponsiveness


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


Leukotriene B4


Prostaglandin E2


Eicosapentaenoic acid


Docosahexaenoic acid


Polyunsaturated fatty acids


Forced exspiratory volume in one second


Forced vital capacity


European community respiratory health survey


Dose-response slope


Transformed dose-response slope


Odds ratio


Regression coefficient


Standard error


Polyunsaturated fatty acids





Sources of Support: Financially supported in part by German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), Bonn, HEI 3294/1–1 and KO 912/8–1.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iris Kompauer
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Hans Demmelmair
    • 4
  • Berthold Koletzko
    • 4
  • Gabriele Bolte
    • 5
  • Jakob Linseisen
    • 6
    • 7
  • Joachim Heinrich
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of EpidemiologyGSF – National Research Center for Environment and HealthNeuherbergGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Medical Data Management, Biometrics and EpidemiologyLudwig-Maximilians University of MunichMunichGermany
  3. 3.Division of Epidemiology & Health ReportsDistrict of Stuttgart Government, State Health Office Baden-WuerttembergStuttgartGermany
  4. 4.Division of Metabolic Disorders and NutritionDr. von Haunersches KinderspitalMunichGermany
  5. 5.Department of Environmental HealthBavarian Health and Food Safety AuthorityOberschleissheimGermany
  6. 6.Unit of Human Nutrition and Cancer PreventionTU MunichGermany
  7. 7.Division of Clinical EpidemiologyGerman Cancer Research CentreHeidelbergGermany

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