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High Levels of Arachidonic Acid Linked to Ulcerative Colitis

Those with highest relative AA concentrations in adipose tissue have four-fold higher UC risk

TUESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of the dietary n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid known as arachidonic acid are associated with an increased risk of developing ulcerative colitis, according to a report published in the December issue of Gastroenterology.

Punyanganie S.A. De Silva, M.B.B.S., from the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital Trust in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed adipose tissue samples from 57,053 patients, aged 50 to 69, without ulcerative colitis who participated in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer-Denmark cohort study from 1993 to 1997. Patients were followed for seven years. The researchers measured levels of arachidonic acid concentration in the adipose tissue samples, which reflects dietary intake.

The researchers found that patients with the highest relative arachidonic acid concentrations in their adipose tissue specimens had a four-fold increased risk of developing ulcerative colitis (relative risk, 4.16). They also found a trend that for every 0.1 percent increase in arachidonic acid, there was a relative risk of 1.77. The percentage of all cases related to the three highest levels of arachidonic acid relative concentration was 40.3 percent.

"In summary, the results of this study support our a priori hypothesis that dietary arachidonic acid may be involved in the etiology of ulcerative colitis," the authors write.

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