Recent studies have shown that intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is associated with reduced risk of cognitive impairment and coronary artery disease (CAD); however, it is currently unknown whether reduced serum n-3 PUFA is associated with cognitive impairment in patients with CAD.
We retrospectively evaluated cognitive function with the mini-mental state examination (MMSE), serum levels of PUFAs (including eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA], docosahexaenoic acid [DHA], dihomogammalinolenic acid [DGLA], and arachidonic acid [AA]), cardiovascular risk factors (hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, cerebrovascular disease, and history of current/previous smoking), and parameters of cardiac function (left ventricular ejection fraction and brain natriuretic peptide levels) in 146 Japanese CAD patients. The associations between the MMSE scores and the other parameters were evaluated.
Pearson correlation analysis showed that EPA (R = 0.25, P <0.01), EPA/AA ratio (R = 0.22, P = 0.01), and left ventricular ejection fraction (R = 0.15, P = 0.04) were positively associated with MMSE score, and that age (R = −0.20, P <0.01) and brain natriuretic peptide levels (R = −0.28, P <0.01) were inversely associated with MMSE score. Multiple regression analysis showed that age (P <0.05) was negatively associated with MMSE score, while EPA (P <0.01) and EPA/AA ratio (P <0.05) were positively associated with MMSE score; however, sex; body mass index; left ventricular ejection fraction; levels of DHA, AA, and DGLA; DHA/AA ratio; brain natriuretic peptide; and presence of hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, cerebrovascular disease, and history of current/previous smoking were statistically excluded.
Serum EPA concentration is associated with cognitive function in patients with CAD, suggesting that a low serum EPA level is a risk factor for cognitive impairment independent of cardiac function, including left ventricular ejection fraction. This correlation potentially lends further support to a role of dietary n-3 PUFAs in preventing the cognitive decline in CAD patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-112) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.