Background: Free fatty acids (FFAs) are reported to be related to coronary heart disease (CHD); however, some case subjects in those reports suffered from CHD and diabetes mellitus. The aim of this research was to reveal the FFAs as the independent discriminators in non-diabetic CHD patients. The association between FFA concentrations and DNA methylation of carbohydrate response element binding protein (ChREBP) was also investigated, since ChREBP acted as an important regulatory factor in the FFA synthesis.
Methods: Blood samples were collected after an overnight fast from 60 controls and 68 non-diabetic patients with CHD. Plasma concentrations of glucose, cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) were measured by standard techniques in an automatic biochemical analyzer. Plasma concentrations of nine types of FFAs were determined by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The DNA methylation of ChREBP was detected by direct bisulfate sequencing.
Results: In the case group, the concentrations of glucose and HDL-C decreased, while the concentrations of TC, TG, and each FFA significantly increased compared with controls (p < 0.05). By logistic regression analysis, all FFAs except C14:0 were found to be independent risk factors for CHD in non-diabetic patients. No significant differences of clinical chemistry indicators were found between the methylated and unmethylated case groups.
Conclusions: Plasma concentrations of FFAs are higher in non-diabetic patients with CHD and are emerging independent discriminators for CHD. High FFA concentrations are expected to play a role even in non-diabetic patients with CHD.