Public Defence: Thomas Olsen

M.Sc Thomas Olsen at Institute of Basic Medical Sciences will be defending the thesis “Lipids, Homocysteine and Vitamin A. Perspectives and new hypotheses from patients with cardiovascular disease” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Foto: Gunnar Fredrik Lothe.

Trial Lecture – time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Helene McNulty, Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, Ulster University, Northern Ireland
  • Second opponent: Professor Ian Graham, Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin, Ireland
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Magne Thoresen, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Associate professor Anne-Marie Aas, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Post-doc. Kathrine J. Vinknes, University of Oslo


Vitamin A is an essential fat-soluble nutrient with important functions in growth, development and the visual process. The major bioactive form of vitamin A, retinoic acid, can stimulate expression of genes involved in the regulation of many important metabolic processes and can influence risk factors of cardiovascular disease (CVD) such as apolipoproteins and the amino acid homocysteine. We investigated whether circulating vitamin A can modify risk of myocardial infarction associated with blood concentrations of apolipoproteins B and A1, and homocysteine in a large cohort consisting of more than 4000 patients with established CVD. In the first two studies, we observed an increased risk of myocardial infarction in patients with higher concentrations of apolipoprotein B and homocysteine ​​and low concentrations of apolipoprotein A1. The risk was highest in patients who also had higher blood concentrations of vitamin A. In the most recent work, we observed that markers of impaired renal function (creatinine), the amino acid cysteine and the inflammatory marker uric acid were positively associated with vitamin A concentrations in the blood. Although vitamin A is a nutrient, there was little evidence indicating that intake of specific food groups or nutrients were associated with vitamin A concentrations in the blood. Taken together, we can conclude that vitamin A can modify the risk of acute myocardial infarction associated with traditional risk factors such as apolipoproteins and homocysteine. In addition, renal function but also amino acids and inflammatory markers are associated with vitamin A concentrations in blood, while diet appears to play a minor role, suggesting that vitamin A concentrations are under homeostatic control. The clinical relevance of the work is unknown, and replication is essential.

Additional information

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Published Jan. 2, 2020 9:16 AM - Last modified Jan. 2, 2020 12:23 PM