Seasonal variation in parameters related to coronary heart disease risk in young men

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      Seasonal variation in the plasma lipids and lipoproteins is reported in the literature. Whether this variation is the result of changes in diet or other factors has not been adequately addressed. We investigated the effects of a controlled diet on the seasonal variation in the levels of plasma lipids and apolipoproteins and also on the excretion of urine metabolites of TXA2 and PGI2 in healthy males. Two well-controlled diet studies were conducted to evaluate effects of dietary fatty acids on plasma lipids (Studies 1 and 2; n = 33) and eicosanoid excretion (Study 2 only; n = 15). Participants consumed whole-food test diets in a randomized, four-period crossover design during each 26-day experimental period. A non-intervention control group also participated in each study (Study 1, n = 12; Study 2, n = 11). Blood was collected monthly and analyzed for plasma lipids and apolipoproteins A-1 (Apo A-1) and B100 (Apo B). Twenty-four hour urine samples were collected monthly only in Study 2 and analyzed for TXB2 and 6-keto-PGF by RIA. Seasonal fluctuations were observed in all subjects in plasma Apo A-1 (zenith = July, with 95% CI June–July; P < 0.05) and Apo B (zenith = October, 95% CI September–November, P < 0.05). Although there was no significant variation in plasma cholesterol levels, the increase in Apo B is consistent with an increase in LDL particle number during the fall/winter. Additionally, excretion of both eicosanoid metabolites and the ratio of 6-keto-PGF/TXB2 was markedly elevated in July (95% CI June–July, P < 0.001). These seasonal fluctuations were observed both in participants who consumed a highly-controlled experimental diet and in the non-intervention controls. Thus, these results suggest a diet-independent seasonal variation in parameters thought to be involved in coronary heart disease risk status. An understanding of these variations is important not only for clinical evaluation and metabolic study design issues, but more importantly, to clarify their clinical significance with the seasonal incidence of CHD events.


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