Background: The association between diet and cardiovascular disease (CVD) maybe mediated partly through inflammatory processes and reflected by markers of subclinical atherosclerosis. Objective: We investigated whether empirically derived dietary patterns are associated with coronary artery calcium (CAC) and common and internal carotid artery intima media thickness (IMT) and whether prior information about inflammatory processes would increase the strength of the associations. Design: At baseline, dietary patterns were derived with the use of a food-frequency questionnaire, and inflammatory biomarkers, CAC, and IMT were measured in 5089 participants aged 45-84 y, who had no clinical CVD or diabetes, in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Dietary patterns based on variations in C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, homocysteine, and fibrinogen concentrations were created with reduced rank regression (RRR). Dietary patterns based on variations in food group intake were created with principal components analysis (PCA). Results: The primary RRR (RRR 1) and PCA (PCA factor 1) dietary patterns were high in total and saturated fat and low in fiber and micronutrients. However, the food sources of these nutrients differed between the dietary patterns. RRR 1 was positively associated with CAC [Agatston score >0: OR (95% CI) for quartile 5 compared with quartile 1 = 1.34 (1.05, 1.71); ln(Agatston score = 1): P for trend = 0.023] and with common carotid IMT [≥1.0 mm: OR (95% CI) for quartile 5 compared with quartile 1 = 1.33 (0.99, 1.79); ln(common carotid IMT): P for trend = 0.006]. PCA 1 was not associated with CAC or IMT. Conclusion: The results suggest that subtle differences in dietary pattern composition, realized by incorporating measures of inflammatory processes, affect associations with markers of subclinical atherosclerosis.
- Carotid artery intima media thickness
- Coronary artery calcium
- Dietary patterns
- Principal components analysis
- Reduced rank regression