Association of demographic and health characteristics with circulating oxysterol concentrations

Michael N. Passarelli, Jeffrey G. McDonald, Bonne M. Thompson, Enat A. Arega, Thomas J. Palys, Judy R. Rees, Elizabeth L. Barry, John A. Baron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Backgound: Circulating oxysterols, cholesterol metabolites with important signaling functions, are increasingly being recognized as candidate biomarkers for several diseases, but associations with demographic and health characteristics remain poorly described. Objective: This study aims to characterize associations of major circulating oxysterols with sex, age, race/ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), lifestyle factors, and use of common medications. Methods: We measured plasma concentrations of 27-hydroxycholesterol (27-OHC), 25-hydroxycholesterol (25-OHC), 24(S)-hydroxycholesterol (24(S)-OHC), 7ɑ-hydroxycholesterol (7ɑ-OHC), and 4β-hydroxycholesterol (4β-OHC) from 1,440 participants of a completed clinical trial for the chemoprevention of colorectal adenomas. Adjusted percent difference in means were calculated using linear regression. Results: Women had 18% (95% CI, 14%, 22%) lower 27-OHC and 21% (15%, 27%) higher 4β-OHC than men. Blacks had 15% (7%, 23%) higher 4β-OHC than Non-Hispanic Whites, and Asian or Pacific Islanders had 19% (2%, 35%) higher 7ɑ-OHC than Non-Hispanic Whites. Individuals of BMI ≥35 kg/m2 had 33% (25%, 41%) lower 4β-OHC than those <25 kg/m2. Current smokers had 15% (5%, 24%) higher 7ɑ-OHC than never smokers, and daily alcohol drinkers had 17% (10%, 24%) higher 7ɑ-OHC than never drinkers. Statin use was associated with lower concentrations of all 5 oxysterols. Differences in mean <15% were found for characteristics such as age, total dietary energy intake, physical activity, diabetes, and anti-inflammatory drug use. Conclusion: Circulating oxysterols are uniquely associated with multiple demographic and health characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-355
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Lipidology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • 24(S)-hydroxycholesterol
  • 25-hydroxycholesterol
  • 27-hydroxycholesterol
  • 4β-hydroxycholesterol
  • 7ɑ-hydroxycholesterol
  • epidemiology
  • oxysterols

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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