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Evaluation of alkylresorcinols in adipose tissue biopsies as a long-term biomarker of whole-grain wheat and rye intake in free-living Swedish men and women

  • Huaxing Wu (a1), Nor Adila Mhd Omar (a2), Niclas Håkansson (a2), Alicja Wolk (a2) (a3), Karl Michaëlsson (a3) and Rikard Landberg (a1) (a2) (a4)...

Wheat and rye, the most consumed whole grains (WG) in the Nordic countries, contain alkylresorcinols (AR) in their bran. AR concentrations in human adipose tissue might reflect long-term WG rye and wheat intake. We aimed to evaluate AR concentrations in adipose tissue biopsies as a long-term biomarker of WG wheat and rye intake in free-living Swedish men and women.


Cross-sectional study. AR concentrations in adipose tissue biopsies were analysed and compared with long-term WG intake assessed by three FFQ (repeated over a period of 14 years in men, 17 years in women) and with plasma AR concentrations.


The Cohort of Swedish Men between 1997 and 2010 and the Swedish Mammography Cohort between 1987 and 2003, Sweden.


Men (n 149) and women (n 109).


Long-term WG rye intake estimated with repeated FFQ correlated (r=0·31–0·41, P<0·01) with adipose-tissue AR concentrations, while WG wheat intake correlated only weakly (r=0·17–0·33, P<0·05). Total AR concentration in adipose tissue was 61 % lower in women than in men at similar energy-adjusted WG wheat and rye intakes, but plasma concentrations were similar. AR concentrations in adipose tissue correlated well with plasma concentrations (r=0·49–0·81, P<0·001).


AR in adipose tissue reflected long-term WG rye but not WG wheat intake, probably due to poor precision in estimating WG wheat intake by FFQ. AR in adipose tissue appears promising as a biomarker of long-term WG rye intake but should be adjusted for sex.

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