Linoleic acid, other fatty acids, and the risk of stroke

Hiroyasu Iso, Shinichi Sato, Utako Umemura, Minako Kudo, Kazuko Koike, Akihiko Kitamura, Hironori Imano, Tomonori Okamura, Yoshihiko Naito, Takashi Shimamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Purpose - The role of serum fatty acids as a risk factor for stroke and stroke subtypes is largely unknown. Methods -A prospective nested case-control study of Japanese 40 to 85 years of age was conducted through the use of frozen serum samples from 7450 participants in cardiovascular risk surveys collected from 1984 to 1989 for 1 community and 1989 to 1992 for the other 2 communities. By the end of 1998, we identified 197 incident strokes whose subtypes were confirmed by imaging studies. Three controls per case were selected by matching for sex, age, community, year of serum storage, and fasting status. Results - Compared with controls, total (n=197), hemorrhagic (n=75), and ischemic (n=122) strokes had similar proportions of n3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, lower proportions of linoleic and arachidonic acids, and higher proportions of saturated and monosaturated acids, determined by gas chromatography. The multivariate odds ratios associated with a 1-SD increase in linoleic acid (5%) after adjustment for hypertension, diabetes, serum total cholesterol, and other cardiovascular risk factors were 0.72 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.59 to 0.89] for total stroke, 0.66 (95% CI, 0.49 to 0.88) for ischemic stroke, 0.63 (95% CI, 0.46 to 0.88) for lacunar infarction, and 0.81 (95% CI, 0.59 to 1.12) for hemorrhagic stroke. The respective odds ratios for saturated fatty acids (4%) were 1.13 (95% CI, 1.05 to 1.65), 1.35 (95% CI, 1.01 to 1.79), 1.44 (95% CI, 1.03 to 2.01), and 1.21 (95% CI, 0.82 to 1.80). Further adjustment for other fatty acids attenuated these relations, but the relation between linoleic acid and risk of ischemic stroke remained statistically significant. Conclusions - A higher intake of linoleic acid may protect against ischemic stroke, possibly through potential mechanisms of decreased blood pressure, reduced platelet aggregation, and enhanced deformability of erythrocyte cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2086-2093
Number of pages8
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Fatty acids
  • Fatty acids, unsaturated
  • Follow-up studies
  • Linoleic acid
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialised Nursing


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