Author(s): Murff HJ, Edwards TL
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Abstract Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are important structural components of cellular membranes and are converted into eicosanoids which serve various biological roles. The most common dietary n-6 and n-3 PUFAs are linoleic acid and α-linoleic acid, respectively. These 18-carbon chain fatty acids undergo a series of desaturation and elongation steps to become the 20-carbon fatty acids arachidonic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, respectively. Evidence from genome wide association studies has consistently demonstrated that plasma and tissue levels of the n-6 long-chain PUFA arachidonic acid and to a lesser extent the n-3 long-chain PUFA eicosapentaenoic acid, are strongly influenced by variation in fatty acid desaturase-1,-2, and elongation of very long chain fatty acid genes. Studies of functional variants in these genes, as well as studies in which desaturase activity has been indirectly estimated by fatty acid product-to -precursor ratios, have suggested that endogenous capacity to synthesize long-chain PUFAs may be associated with metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus. Interventional studies are starting to tease out the complicated relationship between dietary intakes of specific fatty acids, variation in desaturase and elongase genes and tissue levels of long chain PUFAs. Thus future studies of dietary PUFA interventions designed to reduce inflammatory and metabolic diseases will need to carefully consider how an individual's genetically-determined endogenous long-chain PUFA synthesis capacity might modify therapeutic response.
This article was published in Curr Cardiovasc Risk Rep
and referenced in Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences