Background: Higher intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of specific types of cancer and of cardiovascular disease (CVD), but the protective role of the vitamins contained in fruits and vegetables on CVD is controversial. This discrepancy can raise the question of the effects of antioxidants in vitamins on CVD. Recently, we reported that higher vegetable intake was significantly associated with the decreased DNA methylation level of ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1), a gene associated with HDL-cholesterol metabolism. Objective: We investigated whether ABCA1 DNA methylation mediates an effect of dietary vitamin intake on lipid profiles, an important risk factor for CVD, in a Japanese population. Methods: A total of 225 individuals (108 men and 117 women) with no clinical history and no drug use for dyslipidemia participated in this cross-sectional study. We used the pyrosequencing method to measure the ABCA1 DNA methylation levels at 8 CpG sites, and we used mean DNA methylation level in statistical analysis. Dietary vitamin intake was assessed with the FFQ and adjusted for the residual method. Results: In women, higher dietary vitamin intake [vitamin A, β-carotene, folic acid, vitamin C (VC), vitamin D, and vitamin E] was significantly associated with lower mean ABCA1 DNA methylation levels (P = 0.004, 0.03, 0.005, 0.001, 0.03, and 0.04, respectively). In addition, in women, we found a significant inverse association between mean ABCA1 DNA methylation and HDL cholesterol (P = 0.04) but not for other lipid indexes. Mediation analysis showed a significant indirect effect of VC intake on HDL cholesterol through ABCA1 DNA methylation level in women (P = 0.04). Conclusions: Although this study does not prove causality, the results suggest that ABCA1 DNA methylation mediates the protective effect of VC on HDL cholesterol in women, which could offer a novel biological mechanism in CVD prevention.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics