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28-07-2010 | Cardiometabolic | Article

FADS1 gene variant may influence health benefits of specific PUFAs


Free abstract

MedWire News: Genetic variation in the FADS1 gene seems to interact with dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) to influence plasma cholesterol levels, a Dutch team has found.

They say that the health benefits of specific PUFAs might depend on individual genotypes and call for this hypothesis to be investigated further.

Yingchang Lu (Wageningen University, The Netherlands) and team studied interactions among FADS1/2 genotype, dietary intake of n-3 and n-6 PUFAs, and plasma lipid levels.

The FADS1 and FADS2 genes encode the σ-5 and σ-6 desaturases, which are the rate-limiting enzymes in PUFA biosynthesis.

"Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the FADS gene cluster region have been associated with both PUFA concentrations in plasma or erythrocyte membrane phospholipids and cholesterol concentrations in recent genome-wide association Studies," remark Lu et al in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

To investigate they measured PUFA intake in 3575 adults participating in the Doetinchem Cohort Study. All participants were also genotyped for three SNPs (rs174546, rs482548, and rs174570) located in the FADS cluster.

rs174546 genotype was significantly associated with levels of total and non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in the group with a high intake of n-3 PUFAs (defined as ≥0.51% of total energy) but not in the low-intake group.

Specifically, the major C allele was associated with high total and non-HDL-cholesterol concentrations.

Furthermore, the C allele was significantly associated with high HDL cholesterol concentrations in the group with a high intake of n-6 PUFAs (defined as ≥5.26% of total energy) but not in the group with a low intake.

"The evidence suggests that the major C allele of rs17454 may be associated with an increased efficiency of the fatty acid σ-5 desaturase reaction," suggest the study authors.

They conclude: "Genetic variation in the FADS1 gene potentially interacts with dietary PUFA intakes to affect plasma cholesterol concentrations, which should be investigated further in other studies."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Joanna Lyford