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1.  Association between Plasma Nonesterified Fatty Acids Species and Adipose Tissue Fatty Acid Composition 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e74927.
Fatty acid composition of adipose tissue (AT) is an established long-term biomarker for fatty acid (FA) intake and status, but AT samples are not easily available. Nonesterified FA composition in plasma (pNEFA) may be a good indicator of AT FA composition, because pNEFA are mainly generated by AT lipolysis. We investigated the correlation of 42 pNEFA and subcutaneous as well as visceral AT FA in 27 non-diabetic women with a median BMI of 36 kg/m2 (Q0.25: 25 kg/m2; Q0.75: 49 kg/m2). Close correlations of pNEFA and AT FA were found for odd-chain FA (15∶0 r = 0.838 and 0.862 for subcutaneous and visceral AT, respectively) and omega-3 FA (22∶6 r = 0.719/0.535), while no significant or low correlations were found for other FA including 18∶1 (r = 0.384/0.325) and 20∶4 (r = 0.386/0.266). Close correlations of pNEFA and AT FA were found for essential fatty acids, like 18∶2 (r = 0.541/0.610) and 20∶5 (r = 0.561/0.543). The lower correlation for some pNEFA species with AT FA indicates that the variation of most pNEFA is significantly affected by other FA sources and flux of FA to tissue, in addition to release from AT. A relevant influence of BMI on the level of correlation was shown for saturated FA. NEFA analysis in fasted plasma can serve as a virtual AT biopsy for some FA, and as a biomarker for intake of dairy products and sea fish.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074927
PMCID: PMC3788793  PMID: 24098359
2.  Umbilical cord PUFA are determined by maternal and child fatty acid desaturase (FADS) genetic variants in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) 
The British journal of nutrition  2012;109(7):1196-1210.
Fetal supply with long-chain PUFA (LC-PUFA) during pregnancy is important for brain growth and visual and cognitive development and is provided by materno–fetal placental transfer. We recently showed that maternal fatty acid desaturase (FADS) genotypes modulate the amounts of LC-PUFA in maternal blood. Whether FADS genotypes influence the amounts of umbilical cord fatty acids has not been investigated until now. The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of maternal and child FADS genotypes on the amounts of LC-PUFA in umbilical cord venous plasma as an indicator of fetal fatty acid supply during pregnancy. A total of eleven cord plasma n-6 and n-3 fatty acids were analysed for association with seventeen FADS gene cluster SNP in over 2000 mothers and children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. In a multivariable analysis, the maternal genotype effect was adjusted for the child genotype and vice versa to estimate which of the two has the stronger influence on cord plasma fatty acids. Both maternal and child FADS genotypes and haplotypes influenced amounts of cord plasma LC-PUFA and fatty acid ratios. Specifically, most analysed maternal SNP were associated with cord plasma levels of the precursor n-6 PUFA, whereas the child genotypes were mainly associated with more highly desaturated n-6 LC-PUFA. This first study on FADS genotypes and cord fatty acids suggests that fetal LC-PUFA status is determined to some extent by fetal fatty acid conversion. Associations of particular haplotypes suggest specific effects of SNP rs498793 and rs968567 on fatty acid metabolism.
doi:10.1017/S0007114512003108
PMCID: PMC3600399  PMID: 22877655
FADS; Fetal fatty acid supply; Cord blood; Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)
3.  Folate Catabolites in Spot Urine as Non-Invasive Biomarkers of Folate Status during Habitual Intake and Folic Acid Supplementation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56194.
Background
Folate status, as reflected by red blood cell (RCF) and plasma folates (PF), is related to health and disease risk. Folate degradation products para-aminobenzoylglutamate (pABG) and para-acetamidobenzoylglutamate (apABG) in 24 hour urine have recently been shown to correlate with blood folate.
Aim
Since blood sampling and collection of 24 hour urine are cumbersome, we investigated whether the determination of urinary folate catabolites in fasted spot urine is a suitable non-invasive biomarker for folate status in subjects before and during folic acid supplementation.
Study Design and Methods
Immediate effects of oral folic acid bolus intake on urinary folate catabolites were assessed in a short-term pre-study. In the main study we included 53 healthy men. Of these, 29 were selected for a 12 week folic acid supplementation (400 µg). Blood, 24 hour and spot urine were collected at baseline and after 6 and 12 weeks and PF, RCF, urinary apABG and pABG were determined.
Results
Intake of a 400 µg folic acid bolus resulted in immediate increase of urinary catabolites. In the main study pABG and apABG concentrations in spot urine correlated well with their excretion in 24 hour urine. In healthy men consuming habitual diet, pABG showed closer correlation with PF (rs = 0.676) and RCF (rs = 0.649) than apABG (rs = 0.264, ns and 0.543). Supplementation led to significantly increased folate in plasma and red cells as well as elevated urinary folate catabolites, while only pABG correlated significantly with PF (rs = 0.574) after 12 weeks.
Conclusion
Quantification of folate catabolites in fasted spot urine seems suitable as a non-invasive alternative to blood or 24 hour urine analysis for evaluation of folate status in populations consuming habitual diet. In non-steady-state conditions (folic acid supplementation) correlations between folate marker (RCF, PF, urinary catabolites) decrease due to differing kinetics.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056194
PMCID: PMC3572985  PMID: 23457526
4.  Metabolomics of Dietary Fatty Acid Restriction in Patients with Phenylketonuria 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43021.
Background
Patients with phenylketonuria (PKU) have to follow a lifelong phenylalanine restricted diet. This type of diet markedly reduces the intake of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids especially long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA). Long-chain saturated fatty acids are substrates of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation for acetyl-CoA production. LC-PUFA are discussed to affect inflammatory and haemostaseological processes in health and disease. The influence of the long term PKU diet on fatty acid metabolism with a special focus on platelet eicosanoid metabolism has been investigated in the study presented here.
Methodology/Principal Findings
12 children with PKU under good metabolic control and 8 healthy controls were included. Activated fatty acids (acylcarnitines C6–C18) in dried blood and the cholesterol metabolism in serum were analyzed by liquid chromatographic tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Fatty acid composition of plasma glycerophospholipids was determined by gas chromatography. LC-PUFA metabolites were analyzed in supernatants by LC-MS/MS before and after platelet activation and aggregation using a standardized protocol. Patients with PKU had significantly lower free carnitine and lower activated fatty acids in dried blood compared to controls. Phytosterols as marker of cholesterol (re-) absorption were not influenced by the dietary fatty acid restriction. Fatty acid composition in glycerophospholipids was comparable to that of healthy controls. However, patients with PKU showed significantly increased concentrations of y-linolenic acid (C18:3n-6) a precursor of arachidonic acid. In the PKU patients significantly higher platelet counts were observed. After activation with collagen platelet aggregation and thromboxane B2 and thromboxane B3 release did not differ from that of healthy controls.
Conclusion/Significance
Long-term dietary fatty acid restriction influenced the intermediates of mitochondrial beta-oxidation. No functional influence on unsaturated fatty acid metabolism and platelet aggregation in patients with PKU was detected.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043021
PMCID: PMC3418234  PMID: 22912778
5.  FADS1 FADS2 Gene Cluster, PUFA Intake and Blood Lipids in Children: Results from the GINIplus and LISAplus Studies 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37780.
Background
Elevated cholesterol levels in children can be a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases in later life. In adults, it has been shown that blood lipid levels are strongly influenced by polymorphisms in the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) gene cluster in addition to nutritional and other exogenous and endogenous determinants. Our aim was to investigate whether lipid levels are determined by the FADS genotype already in children and whether this association interacts with dietary intake of n-3 fatty acids.
Methods
The analysis was based on data of 2006 children from two German prospective birth cohort studies. Total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides were measured at 10 years of age. Six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the FADS gene cluster were genotyped. Dietary n-3 fatty acid intake was assessed by food frequency questionnaire. Linear regression modeling was used to assess the association between lipid levels, n-3 fatty acid intake and FADS genotype.
Results
Individuals carrying the homozygous minor allele had lower levels of total cholesterol [means ratio (MR) ranging from 0.96 (p = 0.0093) to 0.98 (p = 0.2949), depending on SNPs] and LDL [MR between 0.94 (p = 0.0179) and 0.97 (p = 0.2963)] compared to homozygous major allele carriers. Carriers of the heterozygous allele showed lower HDL levels [β between −0.04 (p = 0.0074) to −0.01 (p = 0.3318)] and higher triglyceride levels [MR ranging from 1.06 (p = 0.0065) to 1.07 (p = 0.0028)] compared to homozygous major allele carriers. A higher n-3 PUFA intake was associated with higher concentrations of total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and lower triglyceride levels, but these associations did not interact with the FADS1 FADS2 genotype.
Conclusion
Total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglyceride concentrations may be influenced by the FADS1 FADS2 genotype already in 10 year old children. Genetically determined blood lipid levels during childhood might differentially predispose individuals to the development of cardiovascular diseases later in life.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037780
PMCID: PMC3357401  PMID: 22629455
6.  Efficient and Specific Analysis of Red Blood Cell Glycerophospholipid Fatty Acid Composition 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33874.
Background
Red blood cell (RBC) n-3 fatty acid status is related to various health outcomes. Accepted biological markers for the fatty acid status determination are RBC phospholipids, phosphatidylcholine, and phosphatidyletholamine. The analysis of these lipid fractions is demanding and time consuming and total phospholipid n-3 fatty acid levels might be affected by changes of sphingomyelin contents in the RBC membrane during n-3 supplementation.
Aim
We developed a method for the specific analysis of RBC glycerophospholipids. The application of the new method in a DHA supplementation trial and the comparison to established markers will determine the relevance of RBC GPL as a valid fatty acid status marker in humans.
Methods
Methyl esters of glycerophospholipid fatty acids are selectively generated by a two step procedure involving methanolic protein precipitation and base-catalysed methyl ester synthesis. RBC GPL solubilisation is facilitated by ultrasound treatment. Fatty acid status in RBC glycerophospholipids and other established markers were evaluated in thirteen subjects participating in a 30 days supplementation trial (510 mg DHA/d).
Outcome
The intra-assay CV for GPL fatty acids ranged from 1.0 to 10.5% and the inter-assay CV from 1.3 to 10.9%. Docosahexaenoic acid supplementation significantly increased the docosahexaenoic acid contents in all analysed lipid fractions. High correlations were observed for most of the mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and for the omega-3 index (r = 0.924) between RBC phospholipids and glycerophospholipids. The analysis of RBC glycerophospholipid fatty acids yields faster, easier and less costly results equivalent to the conventional analysis of RBC total phospholipids.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033874
PMCID: PMC3316509  PMID: 22479463
7.  Mechanisms Involved in the Selective Transfer of Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids to the Fetus 
The concentration of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) in the fetal brain increases dramatically from the third trimester until 18 months of life. Several studies have shown an association between the percentage of maternal plasma docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) during gestation and development of cognitive functions in the neonate. Since only very low levels of LCPUFA are synthesized in the fetus and placenta, their primary source for the fetus is the maternal circulation. Both in vitro and human in vivo studies using labeled fatty acids have shown preferential transfer of LCPUFA from the placenta to the fetus compared with other fatty acids, although the mechanisms involved are still uncertain. The placenta takes up circulating maternal non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and fatty acids released mainly by maternal lipoprotein lipase and endothelial lipase. These NEFA may enter the cell by passive diffusion or by means of membrane carrier proteins. Once in the cytosol, NEFA bind to cytosolic fatty acid-binding proteins for transfer to the fetal circulation or can be oxidized within the trophoblasts, and even re-esterified and stored in lipid droplets. Although trophoblast cells are not specialized for lipid storage, LCPUFA may up-regulate peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) and hence the gene expression of fatty acid transport carriers, fatty acid acyl-CoA-synthetases and adipophilin or other enzymes involved in lipolysis, modifying the rate of placental transfer, and metabolism. The placental transfer of LCPUFA during pregnancy seems to be a key factor in the neurological development of the fetus. Increased knowledge of the factors that modify placental transfer of fatty acids would contribute to our understanding of this complex process.
doi:10.3389/fgene.2011.00057
PMCID: PMC3268610  PMID: 22303352
placenta; fatty acids; DHA; lipolysis; lipid droplets
8.  Influence of FADS Polymorphisms on Tracking of Serum Glycerophospholipid Fatty Acid Concentrations and Percentage Composition in Children 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e21933.
Background
Tracking of fatty acid (FA) contribution to plasma or serum lipids over time was shown in children and adults. However, the potential role of FADS gene variants has not been investigated.
Methods and Principal Findings
Serum GP FA composition of 331 children aged 2 and 6 years, participating in an ongoing birth cohort study, was analyzed. Correlation coefficients were estimated to describe FA tracking over 4 years and to assess the influence of FADS variants on tracking. We found low to moderate tracking (r = 0.12–0.49) of FA compositions and concentration between 2 and 6 years. Concentration changes of total monounsaturated FA and total saturated FA over time correlated closely (r = 0.79) but percentage values were unrelated (r = −0.02). Tracking for n-6 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA) concentrations was lower in subjects homozygous for the major allele of FADS variants and higher in carriers of at least one minor allele, whereas for total n-3 LC-PUFA concentrations and compositions this was vice versa. For individual n-3 PUFA inconsistent results were found.
Conclusions and Significance
Serum GP FA composition shows low to moderate tracking over 4 years with a higher tracking for LC-PUFA metabolites than for their precursor FA. Serum PUFA levels and their tracking seem to be more influenced by lipid and lipoprotein metabolism than by FA specific pathways.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021933
PMCID: PMC3144869  PMID: 21818279
9.  Variants of the FADS1 FADS2 Gene Cluster, Blood Levels of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Eczema in Children within the First 2 Years of Life 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13261.
Background
Association of genetic-variants in the FADS1-FADS2-gene-cluster with fatty-acid-composition in blood of adult-populations is well established. We analyze this genetic-association in two children-cohort-studies. In addition, the association between variants in the FADS-gene-cluster and blood-fatty-acid-composition with eczema was studied.
Methods and Principal Findings
Data of two population-based-birth-cohorts in the Netherlands and Germany (KOALA, LISA) were pooled (n = 879) and analyzed by (logistic) regression regarding the mutual influence of single-nucleotide-polymorphisms (SNPs) in the FADS-gene-cluster (rs174545, rs174546, rs174556, rs174561, rs3834458), on polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in blood and parent-reported eczema until the age of 2 years. All SNPs were highly significantly associated with all PUFAs except for alpha-linolenic-acid and eicosapentaenoic-acid, also after correction for multiple-testing. All tested SNPs showed associations with eczema in the LISA-study, but not in the KOALA-study. None of the PUFAs was significantly associated with eczema neither in the pooled nor in the analyses stratified by study-cohort.
Conclusions and Significance
PUFA-composition in young children's blood is under strong control of the FADS-gene-cluster. Inconsistent results were found for a link between these genetic-variants with eczema. PUFA in blood was not associated with eczema. Thus the hypothesis of an inflammatory-link between PUFA and eczema by the metabolic-pathway of LC-PUFAs as precursors for inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes could not be confirmed by these data.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013261
PMCID: PMC2952585  PMID: 20948998
10.  High-Throughput Analysis of Total Plasma Fatty Acid Composition with Direct In Situ Transesterification 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e12045.
Background
Plasma fatty acid (FA) composition reflects dietary intake and endogenous turnover and is associated with health outcomes on a short and long term basis. The total plasma FA pool represents the composition of all FA containing lipid fractions. We developed a simplified and affordable high-throughput method for the analysis of total plasma FA composition, suitable for large studies.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The total lipid FA from 100 µl plasma is transferred in situ into methyl esters, avoiding initial extraction and drying steps. The fatty acid methyl esters are extracted once and analyzed by gas chromatography. For the new direct in situ transesterification method optimal, reaction parameters were determined. Intra-assay analysis (n = 8) revealed coefficients of variation below 4% for FA contributing more than 1% to total FA.
Conclusions/Significance
The results show good agreement with FA concentrations obtained by a reference method. The new direct in situ transesterification method is robust and simple. Sample preparation time and analysis costs are reduced to a minimum. This method is an economically and ecologically superior alternative to conventional methods for assessing plasma FA status in large studies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012045
PMCID: PMC2918509  PMID: 20711501
11.  Maternal postnatal depression and child growth: a European cohort study 
BMC Pediatrics  2010;10:14.
Background
Previous studies have reported postpartum depression to be associated with both positive and negative effects on early infant growth. This study examined the hypothesis that maternal postnatal depression may be a risk factor for later child growth faltering or overweight.
Methods
A total of 929 women and their children participating in a European multicenter study were included at a median age of 14 days. Mothers completed the Edinburgh postnatal depression scale (EPDS) at 2, 3 and 6 months after delivery. EPDS scores of 13 and above at any time were defined as maternal depression. Weight, length, triceps and subscapular skinfold thicknesses were measured, and body mass index (BMI) were calculated when the children were two years old and converted to standard deviation scores based on the WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study (MGRS).
Results
Z-scores for weight-for-length at inclusion of infants of mothers with high EPDS scores (-0.55, SD 0.74) were lower than of those with normal scores (-0.36, SD 0.74; p = 0.013). BMI at age 24 months did not differ in the high (16.3 kg/m2, SD 1.3) and in the normal EPDS groups (16.2 kg/m2, SD 1.3; p = 0.48). All other anthropometric indices also did not differ between groups, with no change by multivariate adjustment.
Conclusions
We conclude that a high maternal postnatal depression score does not have any major effects on offspring growth in high income countries.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-10-14
PMCID: PMC2850333  PMID: 20226021
12.  Lipid emulsions in parenteral nutrition of intensive care patients: current thinking and future directions 
Intensive Care Medicine  2010;36(5):735-749.
Background
Energy deficit is a common and serious problem in intensive care units and is associated with increased rates of complications, length of stay, and mortality. Parenteral nutrition (PN), either alone or in combination with enteral nutrition, can improve nutrient delivery to critically ill patients. Lipids provide a key source of calories within PN formulations, preventing or correcting energy deficits and improving outcomes.
Discussion
In this article, we review the role of parenteral lipid emulsions (LEs) in the management of critically ill patients and highlight important biologic activities associated with lipids. Soybean-oil-based LEs with high contents of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) were the first widely used formulations in the intensive care setting. However, they may be associated with increased rates of infection and lipid peroxidation, which can exacerbate oxidative stress. More recently developed parenteral LEs employ partial substitution of soybean oil with oils providing medium-chain triglycerides, ω-9 monounsaturated fatty acids or ω-3 PUFA. Many of these LEs have demonstrated reduced effects on oxidative stress, immune responses, and inflammation. However, the effects of these LEs on clinical outcomes have not been extensively evaluated.
Conclusions
Ongoing research using adequately designed and well-controlled studies that characterize the biologic properties of LEs should assist clinicians in selecting LEs within the critical care setting. Prescription of PN containing LEs should be based on available clinical data, while considering the individual patient’s physiologic profile and therapeutic requirements.
doi:10.1007/s00134-009-1744-5
PMCID: PMC2850535  PMID: 20072779
Energy deficit; Fatty acid; Intensive care; Lipid emulsion; Parenteral nutrition
13.  Standards for infant formula milk 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2006;332(7542):621-622.
PMCID: PMC1403284  PMID: 16543306
14.  Breast feeding and obesity: cross sectional study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1999;319(7203):147-150.
Objective
To assess the impact of breast feeding on the risk of obesity and risk of being overweight in children at the time of entry to school.
Design
Cross sectional survey
Setting
Bavaria, southern Germany.
Methods
Routine data were collected on the height and weight of 134 577 children participating in the obligatory health examination at the time of school entry in Bavaria. In a subsample of 13 345 children, early feeding, diet, and lifestyle factors were assessed using responses to a questionnaire completed by parents.
Subjects
9357 children aged 5 and 6 who had German nationality.
Main outcome measures
Being overweight was defined as having a body mass index above the 90th centile and obesity was defined as body mass index above the 97th centile of all enrolled German children. Exclusive breast feeding was defined as the child being fed no food other than breast milk.
Results
The prevalence of obesity in children who had never been breast fed was 4.5% as compared with 2.8% in breastfed children. A clear dose-response effect was identified for the duration of breast feeding on the prevalence of obesity: the prevalence was 3.8% for 2 months of exclusive breast feeding, 2.3% for 3-5 months, 1.7% for 6-12 months, and 0.8% for more than 12 months. Similar relations were found with the prevalence of being overweight. The protective effect of breast feeding was not attributable to differences in social class or lifestyle. After adjusting for potential confounding factors, breast feeding remained a significant protective factor against the development of obesity (odds ratio 0.75, 95% CI 0.57 to 0.98) and being overweight (0.79, 0.68 to 0.93).
Conclusions
In industrialised countries promoting prolonged breast feeding may help decrease the prevalence of obesity in childhood. Since obese children have a high risk of becoming obese adults, such preventive measures may eventually result in a reduction in the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases and other diseases related to obesity.
Key messagesObesity is the most frequent nutritional disorder in children, and is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease in adulthood Preventing obesity in children should be a useful strategy in preventing later heart disease because weight loss interventions in obese children are costly and rarely successfulData from a cross sectional study in Bavaria suggest that the risk of obesity in children at the time of school entry can be reduced by breast feeding: a 35% reduction occurs if children are breastfed for 3 to 5 monthsPreventing obesity and its consequences may be an important argument in the drive to encourage breast feeding in industrialised countries
PMCID: PMC28161  PMID: 10406746

Results 1-14 (14)