Past research has reported that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in fatty acid desaturase 1 and 2 (FADS1/2) can influence plasma fatty acid (FA) profiles. Changes in FA profiles are known to influence inflammatory processes; therefore both FA and SNPs in FADS1/2 may affect inflammation. The goals of this study were to (i) examine the relationships between individual n-6 FA and estimates of FA desaturation with circulating high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) levels, and (ii) determine whether SNPs in FADS1/2 are associated with changes in hsCRP.
FA and hsCRP were measured in fasted plasma samples from 878 healthy young adults (20-29yrs). Circulating levels of plasma linoleic (LA), γ-linolenic (GLA), dihomo-γ-linolenic (DGLA) and arachidonic (AA) acids were measured by gas chromatography and used to calculate desaturase indices for FADS1/2. Nineteen SNPs in FADS1/2 were genotyped in all subjects and six (rs174579, rs174593, rs174626, rs526126, rs968567 and rs17831757) were further analyzed.
Significant inverse associations were found between LA and hsCRP (p=8.55×10(-9)) and the FADS1 desaturase index and hsCRP (p=4.41×10(-6)). A significant positive association was found between DGLA and hsCRP (p=9.10×10(-11)). Several SNPs were associated with circulating levels of individual FA and desaturase indices, with minor allele carriers having lower AA levels and reduced desaturase indices. A single SNP in FADS2 (rs526126) was weakly associated with hsCRP (p=0.05).
This study highlights the relationships between FA and hsCRP, and confirms that FA are strongly influenced by SNPs in FADS1/2. Furthermore, we found weak evidence that SNPs in FADS1/2 may influence hsCRP levels in young adults.