We have investigated the insertion/deletion polymorphism in the signal peptide region of the apoB gene in 106 Finnish individuals from North Karelia. The relative frequency of the insertion allele in this sample was 0.73. Strong linkage disequilibrium was detected between this apoB insertion/deletion polymorphism and the Ag(c/g) epitope pair of apoB, while weak linkage disequilibrium was detected between the polymorphism and the four other reported Ag epitope pairs [(a1/d), (x/y), (h/i) and (t/z)], as well as the apoB PvuII and the XbaI RFLPs. Using one-way analysis of variance there was a statistically significant association (P less than 0.05) between the apoB insertion/deletion polymorphism and serum triglyceride levels in this sample. Individuals homozygous for the insertion allele had higher triglyceride levels than individuals homozygous for the deletion allele, while individuals heterozygous for the polymorphism had intermediate levels. These differences were reduced when individuals were consuming a low fat diet but were statistically significant when the individuals returned to their normal diet. It is possible that insertion or deletion of three hydrophobic amino acids (leu-ala-leu) from the signal peptide of apoB may have a direct effect on plasma triglyceride levels by altering the intracellular processing of apoB or apoB-containing lipoproteins in the liver or intestine.
A case-control study was conducted to investigate the association between serum selenium and risk of death from acute coronary heart disease (CHD) as well as risk of fetal and non-fetal myocardial infarction (MI). Case-control pairs came from a population of 11,000 persons examined in 1972 from two counties in eastern Finland, an area with an exceptionally high mortality from cardiovascular diseases. Cases were aged 35-59 years and had died of CHD or other CVD or had a non-fetal MI during a seven-year follow-up. Controls were matched for sex, age, daily tobacco consumption, serum cholesterol, diastolic blood pressure, and history of angina pectoris. The mean serum selenium concentration for all cases was 51.8 micrograms/l and for all controls 55.3 micrograms/l (p less than 0.01). Serum selenium of less than 45 micrograms/l was associated with an adjusted relative risk of CHD death of 2.9 (p less than 0.01, 95% CI, 1.4-6.0), a relative risk of CVD death of 2.2 (p less than 0.01, 95% CI, 1.2-4.0), and a relative risk of fatal and nonfatal MI of 2.1 (p less than 0.001, 95% Ci, 1.4-3.1). 22% (95% CI, 8-35%) of contrary deaths were attributable to serum selenium in the whole study population.
A matched-pair analysis was conducted with data based on a prospective six-year follow-up of a random population sample to study the association between serum selenium and the risk of cancer. Case-control pairs were from a population, after exclusions, of 8,113 persons examined in 1972 from two counties in eastern Finland. Cases were 31- to 59-year-old men and women initially free of cancer. One control was matched to each case according to age, gender, daily tobacco consumption, and serum cholesterol concentration. The mean serum selenium of the 128 cases was 50.5 micrograms/liter and that of the controls was 54.3 micrograms/liter (p = 0.012 for difference). When the residual variation in tobacco consumption and serum cholesterol as well as that in four other possible confounders was allowed for in a multiple logistic model, serum selenium of less than 45 micrograms/liter was associated with a relative risk of cancer of 3.1 (95% confidence interval, 1.5-6.7, p less than 0.01). These data support the hypothesis that selenium deficiency increases the risk of certain cancers in middle-aged persons.
Three groups of 10 men of low selenium status were given 200 micrograms Se/day as Serich wheat, Se-rich yeast, or sodium selenate for 11 wk. Twenty unsupplemented subjects served as controls. Plasma Se levels increased steadily in the wheat and yeast groups for 11 wk without plateauing, whereas in the selenate group, plasma Se plateaued around 110 ng/ml after 4 wk. Platelet glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities increased rapidly in the wheat and selenate groups for 4 wk and then plateaued. Platelet GSH-Px increased more slowly in the yeast group. Ten weeks after the supplements were discontinued, platelet GSH-Px was higher in the wheat and yeast groups than in the selenate group. Assessment of Se bioavailability requires a short-term platelet GSH-Px measurement to determine immediate availability, a medium-term plasma Se measurement to estimate retention, and a long-term platelet GSH-Px measurement after supplements are discontinued to determine the covertibility of tissue Se stores to biologically active Se.
Farm environment has been shown to protect from childhood asthma. Underlying immunological mechanisms are not clear yet, including the role of dendritic cells (DCs). The aim was to explore whether asthma and farm exposures are associated with the proportions and functional properties of DCs from 4.5-year-old children in a subgroup of the Finnish PASTURE birth cohort study. Myeloid DCs (mDCs), plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) and CD86 expression on mDCs ex vivo (n = 100) identified from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were analysed using flow cytometry. MDCs and production of interleukin (IL)-6 and tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) by mDCs were analysed after 5 h in vitro stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (n = 88). Prenatal and current farm exposures (farming, stables, hay barn and farm milk) were assessed from questionnaires. Asthma at age 6 years was defined as a doctor's diagnosis and symptoms; atopic sensitization was defined by antigen-specific IgE measurements. Asthma was positively associated with CD86 expression on mDCs ex vivo [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 4.83, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.51-15.4] and inversely with IL-6 production in mDCs after in vitro stimulation with LPS (aOR 0.19, 95% CI 0.04-0.82). In vitro stimulation with LPS resulted in lower percentage of mDCs in the farm PBMC cultures as compared to non-farm PBMC cultures. Our results suggest an association between childhood asthma and functional properties of DCs. Farm exposure may have immunomodulatory effects by decreasing mDC proportions.
A 12-week dietary intervention was carried out among 40 families from North Karelia, a county in Finland with an exceptionally high rate of coronary heart disease and high serum cholesterol values. The proportion of dietary energy derived from fat was reduced during the 12-week intervention period from about 39% to 23% in all families. The families were randomly allocated into two groups. Twenty families consumed a diet with a polyunsaturated to saturated fat (P/S) ratio of 0.9 (group I), while the other 20 families had a diet with a P/S ratio of 0.4 (group II). Total serum cholesterol decreased by 16% and 9% in men of groups I and II, respectively, and by 16% in women of both groups. These changes were due to a decrease in both low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. LDL cholesterol and phospholipid reached minimum values after 6 weeks on both intervention diets, but LDL protein responded more slowly. Thus, after 6 weeks LDL had an altered composition containing less cholesterol and phospholipids and more protein and triglycerides than during the baseline diet. During the intervention, the linoleic acid content in the serum cholesteryl ester fraction increased, and the magnitude of this change correlated negatively with the changes in total and LDL cholesterol. The decrease in HDL cholesterol during the two intervention diets was due to a fall in the HDL2 cholesterol (29% and 24% in men, and 26% and 25% in women in groups I and II, respectively).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
The cross-sectional population sample studied here was randomly selected from the population register of northern Finland. The subjects comprised 10 different age groups between 2 and 75 years of age. Pure tone averages over the frequencies of both 0.5, 1 and 2 kHz and 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 kHz - i.e. better ear hearing levels (BEHL) of BEHL0.5-2kH and BEHL0.5-4kHz - were calculated. The prevalence of various grades of hearing impairment was investigated among the 3518 people who participated in audiometric measurements. Two different classifications were used to grade the hearing impairment. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification (1991), 94.3% of the subjects had normal hearing, whereas 3.8% had mild hearing impairment, 1.3% had moderate impairment, 0.4% severe impairment and 0.1% profound impairment. When the more recent EU definition (1996) was used, 85.3% of the subjects had normal hearing. Mild impairment was found in 11.5% of the subjects, moderate impairment in 2.8%, severe impairment in 0.3%, and profound in 0.1%. The difference between the two definitions mentioned above (resulting in different prevalence figures of hearing impairments) is clear. The WHO classification reveals the need for rehabilitation and can thus be used as a basis of resource allocation, whereas the EU proposal reveals even the mildest hearing impairments and hence better illustrates the real prevalence of impairment. The need for the current and future audiological services may be estimated from the prevalence rates of hearing impairments. The proportion of the Finnish elderly - the people most frequently using health services - is expected to increase from today's 15% to 23% within the next 20 years. The same phenomenon is to be expected in other Western societies.
Epidemiological and experimental studies have indicated that dietary factors such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene are associated with the risk of colorectal cancer. This study was carried out within the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study (ATBC Study), whose participants were randomly assigned to four supplementation groups: (a) alpha-tocopherol (AT), 50 mg/day; (b) beta-carotene (BC), 20 mg/day; (c) both AT and BC; and (d) placebo. We included the 15,538 ATBC Study participants who had been randomized within the areas of three major cities in southern Finland. Cases of colorectal adenoma (n = 146) were identified by the pathology laboratories in the study areas, and these participants' medical records were collected and reviewed. Alpha-tocopherol supplementation increased the risk for adenomas (relative risk, 1.66; 95% confidence interval, 1.19-2.32), whereas beta-carotene supplementation had no effect on the risk (relative risk, 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.71-1.35). Slightly more prediagnosis rectal bleeding and intestinal pain occurred in those adenoma cases who received alpha-tocopherol supplements than in those who did not. Thus, some bias may have resulted, with alpha-tocopherol supplementation leading to more colonoscopies and, thus, to an increased detection of incident polyps in this group. This is further supported by the trial finding that alpha-tocopherol supplementation did not increase the risk of colorectal cancer.