Jyrki K Virtanen, Jaakko Mursu, Heli EK Virtanen, Mikael Fogelholm, Jukka T Salonen, Timo T Koskinen, Sari Voutilainen, and Tomi-Pekka Tuomainen
Background: In general populations, the effects of dietary cholesterol on blood cholesterol concentrations are modest. However, the relation is stronger in those with an e4 allele in the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE). There is little information on the association between cholesterol intake and the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) among those with the ApoE4 phenotype.
Objective: We investigated the associations of intakes of cholesterol and eggs, a major source of dietary cholesterol, with carotid intima-media thickness and the risk of incident CAD in middle-aged and older men from eastern Finland.
Design: The study included 1032 men aged 42–60 y in 1984–1989 at the baseline examinations of the prospective, population-based Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Data on common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CCA-IMT) were avail- able for 846 men. Dietary intakes were assessed with 4-d food records. Associations with incident CAD and baseline CCA-IMT were analyzed by using Cox regression and ANCOVA, respectively.
Results: The ApoE4 phenotype was found in 32.5% of the men. During the average follow-up of 20.8 y, 230 CAD events occurred. Egg or cholesterol intakes were not associated with the risk of CAD. Each 1 additional egg (55 g)/d was associated with a multivariable-adjusted HR of 1.17 (95% CI: 0.85, 1.61) in the ApoE4 noncarriers and an HR of 0.93 (95% CI: 0.50, 1.72) in the ApoE4 carriers (P-interaction = 0.34). Each 100-mg/d higher cholesterol intake was associated with an HR of 1.04 (95% CI: 0.89, 1.22) in the ApoE4 noncarriers and an HR of 0.95 (95% CI: 0.73, 1.25) in the ApoE4 carriers (P-interaction = 0.81). Egg or cholesterol intakes were also not associated with increased CCA-IMT. Conclusion: Egg or cholesterol intakes were not associated with increased CAD risk, even in ApoE4 carriers (i.e., in highly susceptible individuals).