Recent studies have described a relation between the line widths of the methyl and methylene resonance envelopes in the proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectrum of human plasma and the occurrence of cancer. An average line width of less than 33 Hz has been reported to correlate with the presence of cancer, whereas greater line widths have not. In 26 normal volunteers, we found a significant inverse correlation between fasting triglyceride level and plasma spectral line width. We also observed that dietary lipids have measurable effects on spectral line widths. In another sample of seven normal persons (three of whom had elevated plasma triglyceride levels), the line widths of whole plasma varied widely (mean, 35.6 ± 8.8 Hz); however, the mean line widths of the lipoprotein fractions isolated from those samples differed greatly, but the variance within each fraction was small (very-low-density lipoprotein, 22.0 ± 1.9 Hz; low-density lipoprotein, 35.0 ± 2.8; high-density lipoprotein, 28.8 ± 1.9). The results of this study indicate that the plasma triglyceride level has a profound effect on the average spectral line width of plasma. This effect can be explained by the relative amounts of lipoprotein fractions in whole plasma. Plasma triglyceride concentrations of more than 1.24 mmol per liter (>110 mg per deciliter), whatever the source, produce average plasma methyl and methylene line widths of less than 33 Hz.
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