Desaturase activity is associated with weight status and metabolic risk markers in young children

Maike Wolters, Heike Schlenz, Claudia Börnhorst, Patrizia Risé, Claudio Galli, Luis A. Moreno, Valeria Pala, Alfonso Siani, Toomas Veidebaum, Michael Tornaritis, Arno Fraterman, Stefaan De Henauw, Staffan Marild, Denes Molnar, Wolfgang Ahrens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Activity of delta-9, delta-6, and delta-5 desaturases (D9D, D6D, D5D) are associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia. Objective: To investigate the association of estimated desaturase activities with weight status, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia in children, cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Design: The IDEFICS (Identification and Prevention of Dietary-and Lifestyle-Induced Health Effects in Children and Infants) cohort study was used, with examinations at baseline (T0) and after 2 years (T1). Setting and Participants: Children aged 2 to less than 10 years from eight European countries were recruited in kindergartens/primary schools. Children with available data on fatty acids, outcome, and covariate information were included in the analyses. Methods: Whole blood fatty acids were analyzed in 2600 children at baseline. D9D (16:1n-7/16:0), D6D(20:3n-6/18:2n-6),andD5D(20:4n-6/20:3n-6) activitieswereestimatedfromproduct-precursor fatty acids ratios. Body mass index (BMI), Homeostatic Model Assessment index, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), and triglycerides (TG) served as outcomes for weight status, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia, respectively. Linear and logistic regression and repeated measures models were used to assess the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between desaturase activity and outcomes. Results: In the cross-sectional analysis, D9D and D6D were positively associated with BMI and TG z-scores and inversely with HDL z-scores. D5D was inversely associated with BMI and TG z-scores (ie, aD5Dincrease of 1 unit is associated with a BMI z-score decrease of 0.07 and a28%lower odds ratio for TG 75th percentile). Longitudinally, similar associations were found for T0 desaturase activities with BMI and for T0 D6D with HDL at follow-up (T1). Baseline D6D and D5D were positively associated with the change of HDL z-score from T0 to T1, and D6D with the change of Homeostatic Model Assessment index z-score. Conclusion: Desaturase activities are associated with metabolic risk markers already in young children and appear to predict the metabolic risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3760-3769
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Medicine(all)


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