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1.  Versatile Transformation System That Is Applicable to both Multiple Transgene Expression and Gene Targeting for Thraustochytrids 
A versatile transformation system for thraustochytrids, a promising producer for polyunsaturated fatty acids and fatty acid-derived fuels, was established. G418, hygromycin B, blasticidin, and zeocin inhibited the growth of thraustochytrids, indicating that multiple selectable marker genes could be used in the transformation system. A neomycin resistance gene (neor), driven with an ubiquitin or an EF-1α promoter-terminator from Thraustochytrium aureum ATCC 34304, was introduced into representatives of two thraustochytrid genera, Aurantiochytrium and Thraustochytrium. The neor marker was integrated into the chromosomal DNA by random recombination and then functionally translated into neor mRNA. Additionally, we confirmed that another two genera, Parietichytrium and Schizochytrium, could be transformed by the same method. By this method, the enhanced green fluorescent protein was functionally expressed in thraustochytrids. Meanwhile, T. aureum ATCC 34304 could be transformed by two 18S ribosomal DNA-targeting vectors, designed to cause single- or double-crossover homologous recombination. Finally, the fatty acid Δ5 desaturase gene was disrupted by double-crossover homologous recombination in T. aureum ATCC 34304, resulting in an increase of dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (C20:3n-6) and eicosatetraenoic acid (C20:4n-3), substrates for Δ5 desaturase, and a decrease of arachidonic acid (C20:4n-6) and eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5n-3), products for the enzyme. These results clearly indicate that a versatile transformation system which could be applicable to both multiple transgene expression and gene targeting was established for thraustochytrids.
doi:10.1128/AEM.07129-11
PMCID: PMC3346472  PMID: 22344656
2.  Novel Lysophospholipid Acyltransferase PLAT1 of Aurantiochytrium limacinum F26-b Responsible for Generation of Palmitate-Docosahexaenoate-Phosphatidylcholine and Phosphatidylethanolamine 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e102377.
N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), have been reported to play roles in preventing cardiovascular diseases. The major source of DHA is fish oils but a recent increase in the global demand of DHA and decrease in fish stocks require a substitute. Thraustochytrids, unicellular marine protists belonging to the Chromista kingdom, can synthesize large amounts of DHA, and, thus, are expected to be an alternative to fish oils. DHA is found in the acyl chain(s) of phospholipids as well as triacylglycerols in thraustochytrids; however, how thraustochytrids incorporate DHA into phospholipids remains unknown. We report here a novel lysophospholipid acyltransferase (PLAT1), which is responsible for the generation of DHA-containing phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine in thraustochytrids. The PLAT1 gene, which was isolated from the genomic DNA of Aurantiochytrium limacinum F26-b, was expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and the FLAG-tagged recombinant enzyme was characterized after purification with anti-FLAG affinity gel. PLAT1 shows wide specificity for donor substrates as well as acceptor substrates in vitro, i.e, the enzyme can adopt lysophosphatidylcholine, lysophosphatidylethanolamine, lysophosphatidylserine and lysophosphatidylinositol as acceptor substrates, and 15:0/16:0-CoA and DHA-CoA as donor substrates. In contrast to the in vitro experiment, only lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase and lysophosphatidylethanolamine acyltransferase activities were decreased in plat1-knockout mutants, resulting in a decrease of 16:0-DHA-phosphatidylcholine (PC) [PC(38∶6)] and 16:0-DHA-phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) [PE(38∶6)], which are two major DHA-containing phospholipids in A. limacinum F26-b. However, the amounts of other phospholipid species including DHA-DHA-PC [PC(44∶12)] and DHA-DHA-PE [PE(44∶12)] were almost the same in plat-knockout mutants and the wild-type. These results indicate that PLAT1 is the enzyme responsible for the generation of 16:0-DHA-PC and 16:0-DHA-PE in the thraustochytrid.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102377
PMCID: PMC4121067  PMID: 25090090
3.  Association of polymorphisms in FADS gene with age-related changes in serum phospholipid polyunsaturated fatty acids and oxidative stress markers in middle-aged nonobese men 
Background:
To investigate the association of FADS gene polymorphisms with age-related changes in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in serum phospholipids and oxidative stress markers.
Methods:
We genotyped 122 nonobese men aged 35–59 years without any known diseases at baseline for rs174537 near FADS1 (FEN1 rs174537G > T), FADS2 (rs174575, rs2727270), and FADS3 (rs1000778), and followed them for 3 years.
Results:
Among the four single-nucleotide polymorphisms, the minor variants of rs174537 and rs2727270 were significantly associated with lower concentrations of long-chain PUFAs. However, rs174537G > T showed stronger association. At baseline, men with the rs174537T allele had lower arachidonic acid (AA) and AA/linoleic acid (LA), and higher interleukin (IL)-6 levels than rs174537GG counterparts. After 3 years, rs174537GG men had significantly increased AA (P = 0.022), AA/dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA) (P = 0.007), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and oxidized LDL (ox-LDL), but decreased eicosatrienoic acid. The rs174537T group showed significantly increased γ-linolenic acid and ox-LDL, and decreased eicosadienoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/α-linolenic acid (ALA), and IL-6. After 3 years, the rs174537T group had lower AA (P < 0.001), AA/DGLA (P = 0.019), EPA, DPA, EPA/ALA, and urinary 8-epi-prostaglandin F2α (8-epi-PGF2α) (P = 0.011) than rs174537GG. Changes in AA (P = 0.001), AA/DGLA (P = 0.017), EPA, DPA, EPA/ALA, and urinary 8-epi-PGF2α (P < 0.001) were significantly different between the groups after adjusting for baseline values. Overall, changes in AA positively correlated with changes in urinary 8-epi-PGF2α (r = 0.249, P = 0.007), plasma ox-LDL (r = 0.199, P = 0.045), and serum IL-6 (r = 0.289, P = 0.004).
Conclusion:
Our data show that FADS polymorphisms can affect age-associated changes in serum phospholipid long-chain PUFAs, Δ5-desaturase activity, and oxidative stress in middle-aged nonobese men. In particular, the rs174537T allele did not show the age-associated increases in AA and Δ5-desaturase activity seen with the rs174537GG genotype.
doi:10.2147/CIA.S42096
PMCID: PMC3693593  PMID: 23818766
FADS gene; age-related changes; serum phospholipid polyunsaturated fatty acids; oxidative stress markers; nonobese men
4.  A More Desirable Balanced Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Composition Achieved by Heterologous Expression of Δ15/Δ4 Desaturases in Mammalian Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e84871.
Arachidonic (ARA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids are the most biologically active polyunsaturated fatty acids, but their biosyntheses in mammals are very limited. The biosynthesis of DHA is the most difficult, because this undergoes the Sprecher pathway–a further elongation step from docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), a Δ6-desaturase acting on a C24 fatty acid substrate followed by a peroxisomal chain shortening step. This paper reports the successful heterologous expression of two non-mammalian genes (with modification of codon usage), coding for Euglena gracilis Δ4-desaturase and Siganus canaliculatus Δ4-desaturase respectively, in mammalian cells (HEK293 cell line). Both of the Δ4-desaturases can efficiently function, directly converting DPA into DHA. Moreover, the cooperation of the E. gracilis Δ4-desaturase with C. elegans Δ15-desaturase (able to convert a number of n-6 PUFAs to their corresponding n-3 PUFAs) in transgenic HEK293 cells made a more desirable fatty acid composition – a drastically reduced n-6/n-3 PUFAs ratio and a high level of DHA as well as EPA and ARA. Our findings provide a basis for potential applications of the gene constructs for expression of Δ15/Δ4-desaturases in transgenic livestock to produce such a fatty acid profile in the related products, which certainly will bring benefit to human health.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084871
PMCID: PMC3877351  PMID: 24391980
5.  Genetic Loci Associated with Plasma Phospholipid n-3 Fatty Acids: A Meta-Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies from the CHARGE Consortium 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(7):e1002193.
Long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) can derive from diet or from α-linolenic acid (ALA) by elongation and desaturation. We investigated the association of common genetic variation with plasma phospholipid levels of the four major n-3 PUFAs by performing genome-wide association studies in five population-based cohorts comprising 8,866 subjects of European ancestry. Minor alleles of SNPs in FADS1 and FADS2 (desaturases) were associated with higher levels of ALA (p = 3×10−64) and lower levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, p = 5×10−58) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA, p = 4×10−154). Minor alleles of SNPs in ELOVL2 (elongase) were associated with higher EPA (p = 2×10−12) and DPA (p = 1×10−43) and lower docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, p = 1×10−15). In addition to genes in the n-3 pathway, we identified a novel association of DPA with several SNPs in GCKR (glucokinase regulator, p = 1×10−8). We observed a weaker association between ALA and EPA among carriers of the minor allele of a representative SNP in FADS2 (rs1535), suggesting a lower rate of ALA-to-EPA conversion in these subjects. In samples of African, Chinese, and Hispanic ancestry, associations of n-3 PUFAs were similar with a representative SNP in FADS1 but less consistent with a representative SNP in ELOVL2. Our findings show that common variation in n-3 metabolic pathway genes and in GCKR influences plasma phospholipid levels of n-3 PUFAs in populations of European ancestry and, for FADS1, in other ancestries.
Author Summary
Circulating long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) derive from fatty fish or from the conversion of the plant n-3 PUFA by elongation and desaturation. We looked for common genetic markers throughout the genome that might influence plasma phospholipid levels of the four major n-3 PUFAs in five large studies and pooled the results. We found that levels of all four n-3 PUFAs were associated with genetic markers in known desaturation and elongation genes. We also found evidence that conversion of the plant n-3 PUFA to longer chain n-3 PUFAs is less effective in people with certain desaturation-gene markers, which could be important for people who do not eat fish. We also found a marker in a gene involved in glucose metabolism, called the glucokinase regulator, to be associated with one intermediate n-3 PUFA. Some of these findings were seen across multiple race/ethnicities. Overall, these results have implications for how genes and the environment interact to influence circulating levels of fatty acids.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002193
PMCID: PMC3145614  PMID: 21829377
6.  Gamma-Linolenic and Stearidonic Acids Are Required for Basal Immunity in Caenorhabditis elegans through Their Effects on p38 MAP Kinase Activity 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(11):e1000273.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) form a class of essential micronutrients that play a vital role in development, cardiovascular health, and immunity. The influence of lipids on the immune response is both complex and diverse, with multiple studies pointing to the beneficial effects of long-chain fatty acids in immunity. However, the mechanisms through which PUFAs modulate innate immunity and the effects of PUFA deficiencies on innate immune functions remain to be clarified. Using the Caenorhabditis elegans–Pseudomonas aeruginosa host–pathogen system, we present genetic evidence that a Δ6-desaturase FAT-3, through its two 18-carbon products—gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, 18:3n6) and stearidonic acid (SDA, 18:4n3), but not the 20-carbon PUFAs arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4n6) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n3)—is required for basal innate immunity in vivo. Deficiencies in GLA and SDA result in increased susceptibility to bacterial infection, which is associated with reduced basal expression of a number of immune-specific genes—including spp-1, lys-7, and lys-2—that encode antimicrobial peptides. GLA and SDA are required to maintain basal activity of the p38 MAP kinase pathway, which plays important roles in protecting metazoan animals from infections and oxidative stress. Transcriptional and functional analyses of fat-3–regulated genes revealed that fat-3 is required in the intestine to regulate the expression of infection- and stress-response genes, and that distinct sets of genes are specifically required for immune function and oxidative stress response. Our study thus uncovers a mechanism by which these 18-carbon PUFAs affect basal innate immune function and, consequently, the ability of an organism to defend itself against bacterial infections. The conservation of p38 MAP kinase signaling in both stress and immune responses further encourages exploring the function of GLA and SDA in humans.
Author Summary
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are vital for optimal physiological functions, including immunity. Much of these effects are mediated by eicosanoids, which are metabolites of arachidonic acid (AA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). In mammals, PUFAs cannot be synthesized de novo. They are produced from essential dietary fatty acids, which are first converted to gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and stearidonic acid (SDA) by a rate-limiting step catalyzed by a Δ6-desaturase, FADS2. Activity of FADS2 is impaired under numerous conditions—including aging, diabetes, stress, and smoking—and could lead to reduced production of GLA and SDA. In this study, we examined the effects of loss-of-function mutations in PUFA biosynthetic genes on the ability of C. elegans to survive infection by the Gram-negative human pathogen P. aeruginosa. We show that the enhanced pathogen susceptibility of the C. elegans Δ6-desaturase mutant fat-3 is associated with decreased basal expression of immunity genes and disrupted activity of the p38 MAP kinase. These defects could be fully restored when both GLA and SDA, but not AA or EPA, were added into the diets of fat-3 mutants, further supporting the conclusion that GLA and SDA are required for basal immunity in C. elegans.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000273
PMCID: PMC2581601  PMID: 19023415
7.  Differential effect of maternal diet supplementation with α-Linolenic adcid or n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids on glial cell phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylserine fatty acid profile in neonate rat brains 
Background
Dietary long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) are of crucial importance for the development of neural tissues. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a dietary supplementation in n-3 fatty acids in female rats during gestation and lactation on fatty acid pattern in brain glial cells phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylserine (PS) in the neonates.
Methods
Sprague-Dawley rats were fed during the whole gestation and lactation period with a diet containing either docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 0.55%) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 0.75% of total fatty acids) or α-linolenic acid (ALA, 2.90%). At two weeks of age, gastric content and brain glial cell PE and PS of rat neonates were analyzed for their fatty acid and dimethylacetal (DMA) profile. Data were analyzed by bivariate and multivariate statistics.
Results
In the neonates from the group fed with n-3 LC-PUFA, the DHA level in gastric content (+65%, P < 0.0001) and brain glial cell PE (+18%, P = 0.0001) and PS (+15%, P = 0.0009) were significantly increased compared to the ALA group. The filtered correlation analysis (P < 0.05) underlined that levels of dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA), DHA and n-3 docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) were negatively correlated with arachidonic acid (ARA) and n-6 DPA in PE of brain glial cells. No significant correlation between n-3 and n-6 LC-PUFA were found in the PS dataset. DMA level in PE was negatively correlated with n-6 DPA. DMA were found to occur in brain glial cell PS fraction; in this class DMA level was correlated negatively with DHA and positively with ARA.
Conclusion
The present study confirms that early supplementation of maternal diet with n-3 fatty acids supplied as LC-PUFA is more efficient in increasing n-3 in brain glial cell PE and PS in the neonate than ALA. Negative correlation between n-6 DPA, a conventional marker of DHA deficiency, and DMA in PE suggests n-6 DPA that potentially be considered as a marker of tissue ethanolamine plasmalogen status. The combination of multivariate and bivariate statistics allowed to underline that the accretion pattern of n-3 LC-PUFA in PE and PS differ.
doi:10.1186/1743-7075-7-2
PMCID: PMC2819247  PMID: 20148111
8.  Endogenously Synthesized (−)-proto-Quercitol and Glycine Betaine Are Principal Compatible Solutes of Schizochytrium sp. Strain S8 (ATCC 20889) and Three New Isolates of Phylogenetically Related Thraustochytrids▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2007;73(18):5848-5856.
We report that endogenously synthesized (−)-proto-quercitol (1d-1,3,4/2,5-cyclohexanepentol) and glycine betaine were the principal compatible solutes of Schizochytrium sp. strain S8 (ATCC 20889) and three new osmotolerant isolates of thraustochytrids (strains T65, T66, and T67). The compatible solutes were identified and quantified by use of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and their identity was confirmed by mass spectroscopy and measurement of the specific optical rotation. The cellular content of compatible solutes increased with increasing NaCl concentration of a defined medium. (−)-proto-Quercitol was the dominating solute at all NaCl concentrations tested (0.25 to 1.0 M), e.g., cells of S8 and T66 stressed with 1.0 M NaCl accumulated about 500 μmol (−)-proto-quercitol and 100 μmol glycine betaine per g dry weight. To our knowledge, (−)-proto-quercitol has previously been found only in eucalyptus. The 18S rRNA gene sequences of the four (−)-proto-quercitol-producing strains showed 99% identity, and they displayed the same fatty acid profile. The only polyunsaturated fatty acids accumulated were docosahexaenoic acid (78%) and docosapentaenoic acid (22%). A less osmotolerant isolate (strain T29), which was closely phylogenetically related to Thraustochytrium aureum (ATCC 34304), did not contain (−)-proto-quercitol or glycine betaine. Thus, the level of osmotolerance and the osmolyte systems vary among thraustochytrids.
doi:10.1128/AEM.00610-07
PMCID: PMC2074927  PMID: 17660311
9.  Elongase Reactions as Control Points in Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Synthesis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e29662.
Background
Δ6-Desaturase (Fads2) is widely regarded as rate-limiting in the conversion of dietary α-linolenic acid (18:3n-3; ALA) to the long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3; DHA). However, increasing dietary ALA or the direct Fads2 product, stearidonic acid (18:4n-3; SDA), increases tissue levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3; EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (22:5n-3; DPA), but not DHA. These observations suggest that one or more control points must exist beyond ALA metabolism by Fads2. One possible control point is a second reaction involving Fads2 itself, since this enzyme catalyses desaturation of 24:5n-3 to 24:6n-3, as well as ALA to SDA. However, metabolism of EPA and DPA both require elongation reactions. This study examined the activities of two elongase enzymes as well as the second reaction of Fads2 in order to concentrate on the metabolism of EPA to DHA.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The substrate selectivities, competitive substrate interactions and dose response curves of the rat elongases, Elovl2 and Elovl5 were determined after expression of the enzymes in yeast. The competitive substrate interactions for rat Fads2 were also examined. Rat Elovl2 was active with C20 and C22 polyunsaturated fatty acids and this single enzyme catalysed the sequential elongation reactions of EPA→DPA→24:5n-3. The second reaction DPA→24:5n-3 appeared to be saturated at substrate concentrations not saturating for the first reaction EPA→DPA. ALA dose-dependently inhibited Fads2 conversion of 24:5n-3 to 24:6n-3.
Conclusions
The competition between ALA and 24:5n-3 for Fads2 may explain the decrease in DHA levels observed after certain intakes of dietary ALA have been exceeded. In addition, the apparent saturation of the second Elovl2 reaction, DPA→24:5n-3, provides further explanations for the accumulation of DPA when ALA, SDA or EPA is provided in the diet. This study suggests that Elovl2 will be critical in understanding if DHA synthesis can be increased by dietary means.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029662
PMCID: PMC3245304  PMID: 22216341
10.  Transgenic expression of delta-6 and delta-15 fatty acid desaturases enhances omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid accumulation in Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 
Background
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which contain two or more double bonds in their backbone, are the focus of intensive global research, because of their nutritional value, medicinal applications, and potential use as biofuel. However, the ability to produce these economically important compounds is limited, because it is both expensive and technically challenging to separate omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs) from natural oils. Although the biosynthetic pathways of some plant and microalgal ω-3 PUFAs have been deciphered, current understanding of the correlation between fatty acid desaturase content and fatty acid synthesis in Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 is incomplete.
Results
We constructed a series of homologous vectors for the endogenous and exogenous expression of Δ6 and Δ15 fatty acid desaturases under the control of the photosynthesis psbA2 promoter in transgenic Synechocystis sp. PCC6803. We generated six homologous recombinants, harboring various fatty acid desaturase genes from Synechocystis sp. PCC6803, Gibberella fujikuroi and Mortierella alpina. These lines produced up to 8.9 mg/l of α-linolenic acid (ALA) and 4.1 mg/l of stearidonic acid (SDA), which are more than six times the corresponding wild-type levels, at 20°C and 30°C. Thus, transgenic expression of Δ6 and Δ15 fatty acid desaturases enhances the accumulation of specific ω-3 PUFAs in Synechocystis sp. PCC6803.
Conclusions
In the blue-green alga Synechocystis sp. PCC6803, overexpression of endogenous and exogenous genes encoding PUFA desaturases markedly increased accumulation of ALA and SDA and decreased accumulation of linoleic acid and γ-linolenic acid. This study lays the foundation for increasing the fatty acid content of cyanobacteria and, ultimately, for producing nutritional and medicinal products with high levels of essential ω-3 PUFAs.
doi:10.1186/1754-6834-7-32
PMCID: PMC3941260  PMID: 24581179
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; Gene expression; Fatty acid desaturase; Synechocystis sp. PCC6803
11.  Obesity modifies the association between plasma phospholipid polyunsaturated fatty acids and markers of inflammation: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Background and objective
Systemic inflammation is a well-known risk factor for diseases such as atherosclerosis and is augmented by the presence of obesity. In addition, it has been shown that inflammation may be negatively influenced by certain macronutrients, specifically the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The primary aim of this study is to determine whether obesity modifies the association between plasma phospholipid polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and markers of inflammation and endothelial activation in Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) participants.
Subjects
A sample of 2848 adults (25% African American, Chinese, Hispanic, and White) randomly selected from the MESA cohort.
Measurements
Relative plasma PUFA concentrations were determined using gas chromatography-flame ionization detection. Levels of three inflammatory markers (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor-receptor 1) and two endothelial activation markers (soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) and E-selectin) were determined with enzyme immunoassays. Linear regression analysis was used to evaluate the relationship between these markers and plasma PUFAs.
Results
Obesity modified the associations of linoleic acid (Pint=0.01), dihomo-γ-linolenic (Pint=0.07) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (Pint=0.04) with sICAM-1 concentrations; in addition, obesity modified the association of IL-6 with dihomo-γ-linolenic (Pint=0.01). In obese individuals, sICAM-1 was inversely related to EPA levels (P=0.02), but directly related to linoleic acid levels (P<0.001). Conversely, sICAM-1 was inversely related to linoleic acid levels in normal weight individuals (P=0.04). IL-6 concentrations were significantly and directly related to dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA) in normal weight (P=0.01) and obese participants (P<0.001), but the scale of increase across tertiles was greater in obese adults. Main effects of fatty acid and inflammatory marker associations are also reported.
Conclusion
The modifying effect of obesity on the association of plasma PUFAs with IL-6 and sICAM-1 suggests differences in fatty acid metabolism and may also have implications in dietary fatty acid intake for obese individuals, particularly for linoleic and EPAs. Further study is warranted to confirm and explain the strong associations of DGLA with inflammatory and endothelial activation markers.
doi:10.1038/ijo.2011.157
PMCID: PMC4096903  PMID: 21829163
fatty acids; inflammation; epidemiology; omega-3
12.  Enhanced Production of Docosahexaenoic Acid in Mammalian Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96503.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), one of the important polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) with pharmaceutical and nutraceutical effects, may be obtained through diet or synthesized in vivo from dietary a-linolenic acid (ALA). However, the acumulation of DHA in human body or other mammals relies on the intake of high dose of DHA for a certain period of time, and the bioconversion of dietary ALA to DHA is very limited. Therefore the mammalian cells are not rich in DHA. Here, we report a new technology for increased prodution of DHA in mammalian cells. By using transient transfection method, Siganus canaliculatus Δ4 desaturase was heterologously expressed in chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, and simultaneously, mouse Δ6-desaturase and Δ5-desaturase were overexpressed. The results demonstrated that the overexpression of Δ6/Δ5-desaturases significantly enhanced the ability of transfected cells to convert the added ALA to docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) which in turn get converted into DHA directly and efficiently by the heterologously expressed Δ4 desaturase. This technology provides the basis for potential utility of these gene constructs in the creation of transgenic livestock for increased production of DHA/related products to meet the growing demand of this important PUFA.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096503
PMCID: PMC4008533  PMID: 24788769
13.  Generation and Dietary Modulation of Anti-Inflammatory Electrophilic Omega-3 Fatty Acid Derivatives 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94836.
Dietary ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) decrease cardiovascular risk via suppression of inflammation. The generation of electrophilic α,β-unsaturated ketone derivatives of the ω-3 PUFAs docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) in activated human macrophages is catalyzed by cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2). These derivatives are potent pleiotropic anti-inflammatory signaling mediators that act via mechanisms including the activation of Nrf2-dependent phase 2 gene expression and suppression of pro-inflammatory NF-κB-driven gene expression. Herein, the endogenous generation of ω-3 PUFAs electrophilic ketone derivatives and their hydroxy precursors was evaluated in human neutrophils. In addition, their dietary modulation was assessed through a randomized clinical trial.
Methods
Endogenous generation of electrophilic omega-3 PUFAs and their hydroxy precursors was evaluated by mass spectrometry in neutrophils isolated from healthy subjects, both at baseline and upon stimulation with calcium ionophore. For the clinical trial, participants were healthy adults 30–55 years of age with a reported EPA+DHA consumption of ≤300 mg/day randomly assigned to parallel groups receiving daily oil capsule supplements for a period of 4 months containing either 1.4 g of EPA+DHA (active condition, n = 24) or identical appearing soybean oil (control condition, n = 21). Participants and laboratory technicians remained blinded to treatment assignments.
Results
5-lypoxygenase-dependent endogenous generation of 7-oxo-DHA, 7-oxo-DPA and 5-oxo-EPA and their hydroxy precursors is reported in human neutrophils stimulated with calcium ionophore and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). Dietary EPA+DHA supplementation significantly increased the formation of 7-oxo-DHA and 5-oxo-EPA, with no significant modulation of arachidonic acid (AA) metabolite levels.
Conclusions
The endogenous detection of these electrophilic ω-3 fatty acid ketone derivatives supports the precept that the benefit of ω-3 PUFA-rich diets can be attributed to the generation of electrophilic oxygenated metabolites that transduce anti-inflammatory actions rather than the suppression of pro-inflammatory AA metabolites.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00663871
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094836
PMCID: PMC3988126  PMID: 24736647
14.  Differences in Arachidonic Acid Levels and Fatty Acid Desaturase (FADS) Gene Variants in African Americans and European Americans with Diabetes/Metabolic Syndrome 
The British journal of nutrition  2011;107(4):547-555.
Over the past 50 years, increases in dietary n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as linoleic acid, have been hypothesized to cause or exacerbate chronic inflammatory diseases. This study examines an individual’s innate capacity to synthesize n-6-long chain PUFAs (LC-PUFAs), with respect to the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) locus in Americans of African and European descent with diabetes/metabolic syndrome. Compared to European Americans (EAm), African Americans (AfAm) exhibited markedly higher serum levels of arachidonic acid (AA) (EAm 7.9±2.1; AfAm 9.8±1.9 % of total fatty acids, mean ± sd; p<2.29×10−9) and the AA to n-6-precursor fatty acid ratio, which estimates FADS1 activity (EAm 5.4±2.2, AfAm 6.9±2.2; p=1.44×10−5). Seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) mapping to the FADS locus revealed strong association with AA, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and dihomogamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) in the EAm. Importantly, EAm homozygous for the minor allele (T) had significantly lower AA levels (TT: 6.3±1.0; GG: 8.5±2.1; p=3.0×10−5) and AA/DGLA ratios (TT: 3.4±0.8; GG: 6.5±2.3; p=2.2×10−7) but higher DGLA levels (TT: 1.9±0.4; GG: 1.4±0.4; p=3.3×10−7) compared to those homozygous for the major allele (GG). Allele frequency patterns suggest that the GG genotype at rs174537 (associated with higher circulating levels of AA) is much higher in AfAm (0.81) compared to EAm (0.46). Similarly, marked differences in rs174537 genotypic frequencies were observed in HapMap populations. These data suggest that there are likely important differences in the capacity of different populations to synthesize LC-PUFAs. These differences may provide a genetic mechanism contributing to health disparities between populations of African and European descent.
doi:10.1017/S0007114511003230
PMCID: PMC3494092  PMID: 21733300
SNP; FADS; arachidonic acid synthesis
15.  Regulation of Tissue LC-PUFA Contents, Δ6 Fatty Acyl Desaturase (FADS2) Gene Expression and the Methylation of the Putative FADS2 Gene Promoter by Different Dietary Fatty Acid Profiles in Japanese Seabass (Lateolabrax japonicus) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87726.
The present study was conducted to evaluate the influences of different dietary fatty acid profiles on the tissue content and biosynthesis of LC-PUFA in a euryhaline species Japanese seabass reared in seawater. Six diets were prepared, each with a characteristic fatty acid: Diet PA: Palmitic acid (C16:0); Diet SA: Stearic acid (C18:0); Diet OA: Oleic acid (C18:1n-9); Diet LNA: α-linolenic acid (C18:3n-3); Diet N-3 LC-PUFA: n-3 LC-PUFA (DHA+EPA); Diet FO: the fish oil control. A 10-week feeding trial was conducted using juvenile fish (29.53±0.86 g). The results showed that Japanese seabass had limited capacity to synthesize LC-PUFA and fish fed PA, SA, OA and LNA showed significantly lower tissue n-3 LC-PUFA contents compared to fish fed N-3 LC-PUFA and FO. The putative gene promoter and full-length cDNA of FADS2 was cloned and characterized. The protein sequence was confirmed to be homologous to FADS2s of marine teleosts and possessed all the characteristic features of microsomal fatty acid desaturases. The FADS2 transcript levels in liver of fish fed N-3 LC-PUFA and FO were significantly lower than those in fish fed other diets except LNA while Diet PA significantly up-regulated the FADS2 gene expression compared to Diet LNA, N-3 LC-PUFA and FO. Inversely, fish fed N-3 LC-PUFA and FO showed significantly higher promoter methylation rates of FADS2 gene compared to fish fed the LC-PUFA deficient diets. These results suggested that Japanese seabass had low LC-PUFA synthesis capacity and LC-PUFA deficient diets caused significantly reduced tissue n-3 LC-PUFA contents. The liver gene expression of FADS2 was up-regulated in groups enriched in C16:0, C18:0 and C18:1n-9 respectively but not in the group enriched in C18:3n-3 compared to groups with high n-3 LC-PUFA contents. The FADS2 gene expression regulated by dietary fatty acids was significantly negatively correlated with the methylation rate of putative FADS2 gene promoter.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087726
PMCID: PMC3909213  PMID: 24498178
16.  Biosynthesis of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in the Oleaginous Marine Diatom Fistulifera sp. Strain JPCC DA0580 
Marine Drugs  2013;11(12):5008-5023.
Studies of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) biosynthesis in microalgae are of great importance for many reasons, including the production of biofuel and variable omega 3-long chain PUFAs. The elucidation of the PUFA biosynthesis pathway is necessary for bioengineering to increase or decrease PUFA content in certain microalgae. In this study, we identified the PUFA synthesis pathway in the oleaginous marine diatom, Fistulifera sp. strain JPCC DA0580, a promising candidate for biodiesel production. The data revealed not only the presence of the desaturases and elongases involved in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) synthesis, but also the unexpected localization of ω3-desaturase expression in the chloroplast. This suggests that this microalga might perform the final step of EPA synthesis in the chloroplast and not in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) like other diatoms. The detailed fatty acid profile suggests that the EPA was synthesized only through the ω6-pathway in this strain, which was also different from other diatoms. Finally, the transcriptome analysis demonstrated an overall down-regulation of desaturases and elongases over incubation time. These genetic features might explain the decrease of PUFA percentage over incubation time in this strain. The important insights into metabolite synthesis acquired here will be useful for future metabolic engineering to control PUFA content in this diatom.
doi:10.3390/md11125008
PMCID: PMC3877899  PMID: 24335525
marine oleaginous diatom; Fistulifera sp. JPCC DA0580; eicosapentaenoic acid; polyunsatulated fatty acid; desaturase
17.  LC-MS/MS analysis of plasma polyunsaturated fatty acids in type 2 diabetic patients after insulin analog initiation therapy 
Background
Eicosanoids derived from omega-6 (n6) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have proinflammatory functions whereas eicosanoids derived from omega-3 (n3) PUFAs have anti-inflammatory properties. This study was designed to evaluate the effect of insulin analog initiation therapy on n6 and n3 PUFAs in type 2 diabetic patients during early phase.
Methods
Sixteen type 2 diabetic patients with glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels above 10% despite ongoing combination therapy with sulphonylurea and metformin were selected. Former treatment regimen was continued for the first day followed by substitution of sulphonylurea therapy with different insulin analogs (0.4 U/kg/day) plus metformin. Blood samples were obtained from all patients at 24 and 72 hours. Plasma levels of arachidonic acid (AA, C20:4n6), dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA, C20:3n6), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, C20:5n3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6n3) were determined by an optimized multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) method using ultra fast-liquid chromatography (UFLC) coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) was measured in serum samples by enzyme immunoassay.
Results
All measured PUFAs were significantly increased after treatment with insulin analogs plus metformin compared to before treatment levels. The mean AA/EPA ratio was significantly lower after treatment with insulin analogs plus metformin. A 22% decrease was observed in PGE2 levels after treatment with insulin analogs plus metformin compared to pretreatment levels (p > 0.05).
Conclusion
The significant decrease in AA/EPA ratio indicates that insulin analog initiation therapy has anti-inflammatory properties by favoring the increase of n3 fatty acid EPA.
doi:10.1186/1476-511X-12-169
PMCID: PMC4228320  PMID: 24195588
Polyunsaturated fatty acids; Diabetes mellitus; Insulin; Prostaglandin
18.  Lipid content in hepatic and gonadal adipose tissue parallel aortic cholesterol accumulation in mice fed diets with different omega-6 PUFA to EPA plus DHA ratios 
Background & aims
Diets with low omega (ω)-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) plus docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) ratios have been shown to decrease aortic cholesterol accumulation and have been suggested to promote weight loss. The involvement of the liver and gonadal adipose tissue (GAT) in mediating these effects is not well understood. LDL receptor null mice were used to assess the effect of an atherogenic diet with different ω-6:EPA+DHA ratios on weight gain, hepatic and GAT lipid accumulation, and their relationship to atherosclerosis.
Methods
Four groups of mice were fed a high saturated fat and cholesterol diet (HSF ω-6) alone, or with ω-6 PUFA to EPA+DHA ratios up to 1:1 for 32 weeks. Liver and GAT were collected for lipid and gene expression analysis.
Results
The fatty acid profile of liver and GAT reflected the diets. All diets resulted in similar weight gains. Compared to HSF ω-6 diet, the 1:1 ratio diet resulted in lower hepatic total cholesterol (TC) content. Aortic TC was positively correlated with hepatic and GAT TC and triglyceride. These differences were accompanied by significantly lower expression of CD36, ATP-transporter cassette A1, scavenger receptor B class 1, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR), acetyl-CoA carboxylase alpha, acyl-CoA synthetase long-chain family member 5, and stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase 1 (SCD1) in GAT, and HMGCR, SCD1 and cytochrome P450 7A1 in liver.
Conclusions
Dietary ω-6:EPA+DHA ratios did not affect body weight, but lower ω-6:EPA+DHA ratio diets decreased liver lipid accumulation, which possibly contributed to the lower aortic cholesterol accumulation.
doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2013.04.009
PMCID: PMC4005276  PMID: 23672804
Atherosclerosis; Liver; Gonadal adipose tissue; Fatty acids; Lipid metabolism; Omega-3 fatty acids
19.  Ethnicity, plasma phospholipid fatty acid composition and inflammatory/endothelial activation biomarkers in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES
It has been recognized that certain long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) are involved in inflammation and its resolution. It has also been shown that ethnicity may be a factor in affecting systemic inflammation, and limited evidence suggests it may influence plasma LC-PUFA composition. Given the links among these three factors, we aim to determine ethnicity-based differences in plasma LC-PUFA composition among White, Black, Hispanic and Chinese participants, and whether such differences contribute to variations in markers of inflammation and endothelial activation in a sub-cohort of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
SUBJECTS/METHODS
Plasma phospholipid LC-PUFAs levels (%) were determined in 2848 MESA participants using gas chromatography-flame ionization detection. Enzyme immunoassays determined inflammatory markers levels for high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (n =2848), interleukin-6 (n =2796), soluble tumor necrosis factor-α receptor type 1 (n =998), and endothelial activation markers soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (n =1192) and soluble E-selectin (n =998).
The modifying influence of ethnicity was tested by linear regression analysis.
RESULTS
Chinese adults were found to have the highest mean levels of plasma eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 1.24%) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 4.95%), and the lowest mean levels of γ-linolenic (0.10%), dihomo-γ-linolenic (DGLA, 2.96%) and arachidonic (10.72%) acids compared with the other ethnicities (all P≤0.01). In contrast, Hispanics had the lowest mean levels of plasma EPA (0.70%) and DHA (3.49%), and the highest levels of DGLA (3.59%; all P≤0.01). Significant differences in EPA and DHA among ethnicities were attenuated following adjustment for dietary non-fried fish and fish oil supplementation. Ethnicity did not modify the associations of LC-PUFAs with markers of inflammation or endothelial activation (all Pinteraction>0.05).
CONCLUSIONS
The absence of a modifying effect of ethnicity indicates that the putative benefits of LC-PUFAs with respect to inflammation are pan-ethnic. Future longitudinal studies may elucidate the origin(s) of ethnicity-based differences in LC-PUFA composition and whether certain patterns, that is, high plasma levels of DGLA and low levels of EPA/DHA, contribute to inflammation-associated health outcomes.
doi:10.1038/ejcn.2011.215
PMCID: PMC4096912  PMID: 22215136
race; endothelial activation; inflammation; fatty acid; omega-3; omega-6
20.  Marine- and plant-derived ω-3 fatty acids differentially regulate prostate cancer cell proliferation 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2013;1(3):444-452.
Fish oil contains the marine ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs) docosahexaenoic (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The consumption of diets rich in these fatty acids is associated with a decreased incidence of prostate cancer. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the non-marine ω-3 PUFA α-linolenic acid (ALA). To study which ω-3 PUFAs are more effective in prostate cancer prevention, and whether the mechanisms of action are conserved between them, we investigated the effect of DHA, EPA and ALA on the human prostate cancer cell lines PC-3 and LNCaP. Different trends of inhibition of PC-3 cell proliferation were observed for the three ω-3 PUFA, with DHA having the most pronounced effects on cell proliferation, while ALA had the minimum effects of the three ω-3 PUFAs. All the ω-3 PUFAs decreased fatty acid synthase (FASN) mRNA. Concerning genes involved in inflammation, cell cycle and apoptosis, DHA regulated the most genes in all categories, followed by EPA and then ALA. In addition, DHA and EPA increased the gene expression of the pro-apoptotic protein activating transcription factor 3 mRNA. Moreover, these two fatty acids significantly induced apoptosis. In conclusion, while some mechanisms of cancer cell inhibition are conserved among ω-3 PUFA, the extent, magnitude, and duration of transcriptional changes vary for each individual fatty acid.
doi:10.3892/mco.2013.76
PMCID: PMC3916163  PMID: 24649190
prostate cancer; ω-3; docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; α-linolenic acid
21.  Designer laying hen diets to improve egg fatty acid profile and maintain sensory quality 
Food Science & Nutrition  2013;1(4):324-335.
The fatty acid composition of eggs is highly reflective of the diet of the laying hen; therefore, nutritionally important fatty acids can be increased in eggs in order to benefit human health. To explore the factors affecting the hen's metabolism and deposition of fatty acids of interest, the current research was divided into two studies. In Study 1, the fatty acid profile of eggs from Bovan White hens fed either 8%, 14%, 20%, or 28% of the omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid (LA) (expressed as a percentage of total fatty acids), and an additional treatment of 14% LA containing double the amount of saturated fat (SFA) was determined. Omega-6 fatty acids and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) in the yolk were significantly (P < 0.05) increased, and oleic acid (OA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) were significantly decreased with an increasing dietary LA content. In Study 2, the fatty acid and sensory profiles were determined in eggs from Shaver White hens fed either (1) 15% or 30% of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (of total fatty acids), and (2) low (0.5), medium (1), or high (2) ratios of SFA: LA+OA. Increasing this ratio resulted in marked increases in lauric acid, ALA, EPA, DPA, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), with decreases in LA and arachidonic acid. Increasing the dietary ALA content from 15% to 30% (of total fatty acids) did not overcome the DHA plateau observed in the yolk. No significant differences (P ≥ 0.05) in aroma or flavor between cooked eggs from the different dietary treatments were observed among trained panelists (n = 8). The results showed that increasing the ratio of SFA: LA+OA in layer diets has a more favorable effect on the yolk fatty acid profile compared to altering the LA content at the expense of OA, all while maintaining sensory quality.
doi:10.1002/fsn3.47
PMCID: PMC3951599  PMID: 24804037
Descriptive analysis; docosahexaenoic acid; eggs; laying hens; omega-3; saturated fat; sensory
22.  Metabolic Engineering Plant Seeds with Fish Oil-Like Levels of DHA 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49165.
Background
Omega-3 long-chain (≥C20) polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω3 LC-PUFA) have critical roles in human health and development with studies indicating that deficiencies in these fatty acids can increase the risk or severity of cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases in particular. These fatty acids are predominantly sourced from fish and algal oils, but it is widely recognised that there is an urgent need for an alternative and sustainable source of EPA and DHA. Since the earliest demonstrations of ω3 LC-PUFA engineering there has been good progress in engineering the C20 EPA with seed fatty acid levels similar to that observed in bulk fish oil (∼18%), although undesirable ω6 PUFA levels have also remained high.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The transgenic seed production of the particularly important C22 DHA has been problematic with many attempts resulting in the accumulation of EPA/DPA, but only a few percent of DHA. This study describes the production of up to 15% of the C22 fatty acid DHA in Arabidopsis thaliana seed oil with a high ω3/ω6 ratio. This was achieved using a transgenic pathway to increase the C18 ALA which was then converted to DHA by a microalgal Δ6-desaturase pathway.
Conclusions/Significance
The amount of DHA described in this study exceeds the 12% level at which DHA is generally found in bulk fish oil. This is a breakthrough in the development of sustainable alternative sources of DHA as this technology should be applicable in oilseed crops. One hectare of a Brassica napus crop containing 12% DHA in seed oil would produce as much DHA as approximately 10,000 fish.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049165
PMCID: PMC3492320  PMID: 23145108
23.  Isolation and Characterization of the Diatom Phaeodactylum Δ5-Elongase Gene for Transgenic LC-PUFA Production in Pichia pastoris 
Marine Drugs  2014;12(3):1317-1334.
The diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum can accumulate eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) up to 30% of the total fatty acids. This species has been targeted for isolating gene encoding desaturases and elongases for long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA) metabolic engineering. Here we first report the cloning and characterization of Δ5-elongase gene in P. tricornutum. A full-length cDNA sequence, designated PhtELO5, was shown to contain a 1110 bp open reading frame encoding a 369 amino acid polypeptide. The putative protein contains seven transmembrane regions and two elongase characteristic motifs of FLHXYHH and MYSYY, the latter being typical for microalgal Δ5-elongases. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that PhtELO5 belongs to the ELO5 group, tightly clustered with the counterpart of Thalassiosira pseudonana. Heterologous expression of PhtELO5 in Pichia pastoris confirmed that it encodes a specific Δ5-elongase capable of elongating arachidonic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. Co-expression of PhtELO5 and IsFAD4 (a ∆4-desaturase from Isochrysis sphaerica) demonstrated that the high-efficiency biosynthetic pathway of docosahexaenoic acid was assembled in the transgenic yeast. Substrate competition revealed that PhtELO5 exhibited higher activity towards n-3 PUFA than n-6 PUFA. It is hypothesized that Phaeodactylum ELO5 may preferentially participate in biosynthesis of transgenic LC-PUFA via a n-3 pathway in the yeast host.
doi:10.3390/md12031317
PMCID: PMC3967212  PMID: 24608969
diatom fatty acids metabolites; Phaeodactylum Δ5-elongase; functional stacking of ELO5 and FAD4
24.  DNA Methylation in an Enhancer Region of the FADS Cluster Is Associated with FADS Activity in Human Liver 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97510.
Levels of omega-6 (n-6) and omega-3 (n-3), long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LcPUFAs) such as arachidonic acid (AA; 20∶4, n-6), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20∶5, n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22∶6, n-3) impact a wide range of biological activities, including immune signaling, inflammation, and brain development and function. Two desaturase steps (Δ6, encoded by FADS2 and Δ5, encoded by FADS1) are rate limiting in the conversion of dietary essential 18 carbon PUFAs (18C-PUFAs) such as LA (18∶2, n-6) to AA and α-linolenic acid (ALA, 18∶3, n-3) to EPA and DHA. GWAS and candidate gene studies have consistently identified genetic variants within FADS1 and FADS2 as determinants of desaturase efficiencies and levels of LcPUFAs in circulating, cellular and breast milk lipids. Importantly, these same variants are documented determinants of important cardiovascular disease risk factors (total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, CRP and proinflammatory eicosanoids). FADS1 and FADS2 lie head-to-head (5′ to 5′) in a cluster configuration on chromosome 11 (11q12.2). There is considerable linkage disequilibrium (LD) in this region, where multiple SNPs display association with LcPUFA levels. For instance, rs174537, located ∼15 kb downstream of FADS1, is associated with both FADS1 desaturase activity and with circulating AA levels (p-value for AA levels = 5.95×10−46) in humans. To determine if DNA methylation variation impacts FADS activities, we performed genome-wide allele-specific methylation (ASM) with rs174537 in 144 human liver samples. This approach identified highly significant ASM with CpG sites between FADS1 and FADS2 in a putative enhancer signature region, leading to the hypothesis that the phenotypic associations of rs174537 are likely due to methylation differences. In support of this hypothesis, methylation levels of the most significant probe were strongly associated with FADS1 and, to a lesser degree, FADS2 activities.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097510
PMCID: PMC4026313  PMID: 24842322
25.  Fasting Whole Blood Fatty Acid Profile and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Adults: A Nested Case Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97001.
Objective
to determine the association of fasting whole blood fatty acid concentrations with incidence of type 2 diabetes in adults.
Methods
A nested case-control study of 187 subjects from a cohort of men and women aged 55–85 years from the Hunter Region, New South Wales, Australia. Fasting whole blood fatty acids were measured using gas chromatography and incidence of type 2 diabetes was ascertained by self-reported questionnaire at the study follow-up.
Results
After adjustment for potential confounding variables, positive associations with type 2 diabetes were seen for dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) (OR = 1.04, 95% CI:1.01–1.07, P = 0.01); arachidonic acid (ARA) (OR = 1.01, 95% CI:1.00–1.01, P = 0.002); alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (OR = 1.10, 95% CI: 1.03–1.18, P = 0.01); eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (OR = 1.05, 95% CI:1.02–1.08, P = 0.001); and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (OR = 1.03, 95% CI:1.02–1.05, P<0.0001). Lignoceric acid is significantly associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk (OR = 0.95, 95% CI: 0.92–0.99, P = 0.01).
Conclusion
These data suggest that higher fasting whole blood concentrations of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-6PUFA) (ARA and DGLA) as well as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3PUFA) (ALA, EPA, and DHA) are associated with an increased risk of diabetes, whereas increased fasting whole blood concentrations of lignoceric acid is inversely associated with diabetes risk.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097001
PMCID: PMC4016225  PMID: 24816459

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