Inflammation-related marker profiling of dietary patterns and all-cause mortality in the melbourne collaborative cohort study

Sherly X. Li, Allison M. Hodge, Robert J. MacInnis, Julie K. Bassett, Per M. Ueland, Øivind Midttun, Arve Ulvik, Sabina Rinaldi, Klaus Meyer, Anne Sophie Navionis, Nitin Shivappa, James R. Hébert, Leon Flicker, Gianluca Severi, Harindra Jayasekara, Dallas R. English, Paolo Vineis, Melissa C. Southey, Roger L. Milne, Graham G. GilesPierre Antoine Dugué

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Nutritional epidemiology research using self-reported dietary intake is prone to measurement error. Objective methods are being explored to overcome this limitation. Objectives: We aimed to examine 1) the association between plasma markers related to inflammation and derive marker scores for dietary patterns [Mediterranean dietary score (MDS), energy-adjusted Dietary Inflammatory Index (E-DIITM), Alternative Healthy Eating Index 2010 (AHEI)] and 2) the associations of these marker scores with mortality. Methods: Weighted marker scores were derived from the cross-sectional association between 30 plasma markers and each dietary score (assessed using food-frequency questionnaires) using linear regression for 770 participants in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study (aged 50–82 y). Prospective associations between marker scores and mortality (n = 249 deaths) were assessed using Cox regression (median follow-up: 14.4 y). Results: The MDS, E-DII, and AHEI were associated (P < 0.05) with 9, 14, and 11 plasma markers, respectively. Healthier diets (higher MDS and AHEI, and lower anti-inflammatory, E-DII) were associated with lower concentrations of kynurenines, neopterin, IFN-γ, cytokines, and C-reactive protein. Five of 6 markers common to the 3 dietary scores were components of the kynurenine pathway. The 3 dietary-based marker scores were highly correlated (Spearman ρ: –0.74, –0.82, and 0.93). Inverse associations (for 1-SD increment) were observed with all-cause mortality for the MDS marker score (HR: 0.84; 95% CI: 0.72–0.98) and the AHEI marker score (HR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.66–0.89), whereas a positive association was observed with the E-DII marker score (HR: 1.18; 95% CI: 1.01–1.39). The same magnitude of effect was not observed for the respective dietary patterns. Conclusions: Markers involved in inflammation-related processes are associated with dietary quality, including a substantial overlap between markers associated with the MDS, the E-DII, and the AHEI, especially kynurenines. Unfavorable marker scores, reflecting poorer-quality diets, were associated with increased mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2908-2916
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


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