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Title: Plasma ceramides, Mediterranean diet, and incident cardiovascular disease in the PREDIMED Trial (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea)
Authors: Wang, Dong D.
Toledo, Estefania
Hruby, Adela
Rosner, Bernard A.
Willett, Walter C.
Sun, Qi
Razquin, Cristina
Zheng, Yan
Ruiz-Canela, Miguel
Guasch-Ferre, Marta 
Corella, Dolores
Gomez-Gracia, Enrique
Fiol, Miquel
Estruch, Ramón
Ros, Emilio
Lapetra, José
Fito, Montse
Arós, Fernando
Serra-Majem, Lluis 
Lee, Chih-Hao
Clish, Clary B.
Liang, Liming
Salas-Salvadó, Jordi
Martínez-González, Miguel Ángel
Hu, Frank B.
UNESCO Clasification: 3206 Ciencias de la nutrición
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease
Coronary heart disease
Issue Date: 2017
Journal: Circulation (New York, N.Y.) 
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Although in vitro studies and investigations in animal models and small clinical populations have suggested that ceramides may represent an intermediate link between overnutrition and certain pathological mechanisms underlying cardiovascular disease (CVD), no prospective studies have investigated the association between plasma ceramides and risk of CVD. METHODS: The study population consisted of 980 participants from the PREDIMED trial (Prevencion con Dieta Mediterranea), including 230 incident cases of CVD and 787 randomly selected participants at baseline ( including 37 overlapping cases) followed for <= 7.4 years. Participants were randomized to a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts, or a control diet. Plasma ceramide concentrations were measured on a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry metabolomics platform. The primary outcome was a composite of nonfatal acute myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, or cardiovascular death. Hazard ratios were estimated with weighted Cox regression models using Barlow weights to account for the case-cohort design. RESULTS: The multivariable hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (Cls) comparing the extreme quartiles of plasma concentrations of C16:0, C22:0, C24:0, and C24: 1 ceramides were 2.39 (1.49-3.83, P-trend < 0.001), 1.91 (1.21-3.01, P-trend = 0.003), 1.97 (1.21-3.20, P-trend = 0.004), and 1.73 (1.09-2.74, P-trend = 0.011), respectively. The ceramide score, calculated as a weighted sum of concentrations of four ceramides, was associated with a 2.18-fold higher risk of CVD across extreme quartiles (HR, 2.18; 95% Cl, 1.36-3.49; P-trend < 0.001). The association between baseline ceramide score and incident CVD varied significantly by treatment groups (P-interaction = 0.010). Participants with a higher ceramide score and assigned to either of the 2 active intervention arms of the trial showed similar CVD risk to those with a lower ceramide score, whereas participants with a higher ceramide score and assigned to the control arm presented significantly higher CVD risk. Changes in ceramide concentration were not significantly different between Mediterranean diet and control groups during the first year of follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Our study documented a novel positive association between baseline plasma ceramide concentrations and incident CVD. In addition, a Mediterranean dietary intervention may mitigate potential deleterious effects of elevated plasma ceramide concentrations on CVD.
ISSN: 0009-7322
DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.024261
Source: Circulation [ISSN 0009-7322], v. 135 (21), p. 2028-2040
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