AIMS: The aim of the present study was to investigate whether there are differences in plasma levels of YKL-40 between Inuit in Greenland and in Denmark and in Danes, as well as to study the relationship between alcohol intake, plasma YKL-40 and other factors in Inuit.
METHODS: Plasma YKL-40 levels were measured on 1645 people from The Greenland Population Study (a cross-sectional population study of Inuit from Denmark and West Greenland) and were compared with the plasma YKL-40 levels of 8899 people from The Copenhagen City Heart Study (a population-based, prospective study of the Danish general population).
RESULTS: The plasma concentrations of YKL-40 were significantly (P = 0.001) lower in Inuit living in Greenland (median 46 µg/l, range 10-2164, n = 1164) compared with the plasma YKL-40 levels of Inuit living in Denmark (median 63 µg/l, range 20-2827, n = 481) and of Danes living in Denmark (median 55 µg/l, range 10-2909, n = 8899). In Inuit, increased alcohol intake was significantly associated with increased plasma YKL-40 levels (P < 0.001), and high plasma YKL-40 levels were associated with high values of alkaline phosphatase and low values of albumin. Smoking, gender and bilirubin were not associated with the plasma YKL-40 level. High levels of YKL-40 and alcohol were associated with where people lived.
CONCLUSION: The plasma concentrations of YKL-40 are significantly lower in Inuit living in Greenland than Inuit and Danes living in Denmark. A number of factors, including different alcohol intake patterns, nutrition and genes may play a role in these findings.