Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, attenuates interstitial lung disease (ILD) in experimental models, but human studies are lacking. We examined associations of circulating levels of DHA and other polyunsaturated fatty acids with hospitalization and death due to ILD over 12 years in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA; n = 6,573). We examined cross-sectional associations with CT lung abnormalities in MESA (2000-2012; n = 6,541), the Framingham Heart Study (2005-2011; n = 3,917), and the Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study (AGES-Reykjavik) (2002-2006; n = 1,106). Polyunsaturated fatty acid levels were determined from fasting blood samples and extracted from plasma phospholipids (MESA and AGES-Reykjavik) or red blood cell membranes (Framingham Heart Study). Higher DHA levels were associated with a lower risk of hospitalization due to ILD (per standard-deviation increment, adjusted rate ratio = 0.69, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.48, 0.99) and a lower rate of death due to ILD (per standard-deviation increment, adjusted hazard ratio = 0.68, 95% CI: 0.47, 0.98). Higher DHA was associated with fewer interstitial lung abnormalities on computed tomography (per natural log increment, pooled adjusted odds ratio = 0.65, 95% CI: 0.46, 0.91). Higher DHA levels were associated with a lower risk of hospitalization and death due to ILD and fewer lung abnormalities on computed tomography in a meta-analysis of data from population-based cohort studies.
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- computed tomography
- fatty acids
- interstitial lung disease