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Theses, Masters


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Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) to the Technological University Dublin 2001.


Trans fatty acids (TFA) are produced by the partial hydrogenation of vegetable and marine oils. TFA are not synthesized in the human body. The fatty acid composition of adipose tissue reflects the habitual intake of TFA over the previous 1-2 years. Recent studies associate TFA with an increased serum level of low density lipoproteins (LDL) and therefore an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). The objective of the present study was to assess the level of TFA in the subcutaneous fat and erythrocyte membranes of subjects from an Irish population. One fat aspirate and one blood sample were taken from each subject (n=122) Results for this population were: mean TFA 4.22 (SD0.8) g/100g adipose tissue lipid, mean serum HDL 1.07 (sd 0.4) mmol/l, LDL 3.54 (SD 1.5) mmol/l and total cholesterol 5.53(1.49)mmol/l. The 18:1t TFA content of erythrocyte membranes was: mean 0.85 (SD 0.39) g/100 g erythrocyte lipid. A positive (r0.13) non-significant (P=0.24) relationship was observed between adipose tissue 18:1t and serum LDL levels. A significantly stronger relationship (r0.33, P=0.002) was observed, however between adipose tissue 16:1t and serum LDL levels. These results suggest that 16:1t may, in fact, be the more offending isomer with respect to CHD risk. There was a significant correlation (r0.32, P=0.01) between 18:1t (adipose tissue) and 18:1t (erythrocyte membranes) suggesting that, although levels of TFA in adipose tissue and erythrocyte membranes are different in magnitude, there is a relationship between them. These, the first such data for an Irish population, in agreement with published data, show some evidence that increased levels of TFA in adipose tissue (and thus the diet) are associated with raised serum LDL.


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