Listed in Issue 239


MAHENDRAN and COLLEAGUES, (1)Institute of Clinical Sciences, Internal Medicine (YM, HC, JV, AS, JK, and ML), the Institute of Biomedicine Physiology (JÅ), and the Institute of Public Health  and Clinical Nutrition (MU and US), University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland, and the Research Unit (MU) and the Department of Medicine (HC, JK, and ML), Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland investigated erythrocyte membrane fatty acids (EMFAs) as predictors of the worsening of hyperglycaemia  and incident type 2 diabetes.


The significance of erythrocyte membrane fatty acids (EMFAs) and their ratios to predict hyperglycaemia and incident type 2 diabetes is unclear.


The authors investigated EMFAs as predictors of the worsening of hyperglycaemia and incident type 2 diabetes in a 5-y follow-up of a population-based study. Design: The authors measured EMFAs in 1346 Finnish men aged 45-73 y at baseline [mean ± SD age: 55 ± 6 y; body mass index (in kg/m(2)): 26.5 ± 3.5]. Their prospective follow-up study included only men who were nondiabetic at baseline and who had data available at the 5-y follow-up visit (n = 735).


The authors’ study showed that, after adjustment for confounding factors, palmitoleic acid (16:1n-7; P = 2.8 × 10(-7)), dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (20:3n-6; P = 2.3 × 10(-4)), the ratio of 16:1n-7 to 16:0 (P = 1.6 × 10(-8)) as a marker of stearoyl coenzyme A desaturase 1 activity, and the ratio of 20:3n-6 to 18:2n-6 (P = 9.4 × 10(-7)) as a marker of Δ(6)-desaturase activity significantly predicted the worsening of hyperglycaemia (glucose area under the curve in an oral-glucose-tolerance test). In contrast, linoleic acid (18:2n-6; P = 0.0015) and the ratio of 18:1n-7 to 16:1n-7 (P = 1.5 × 10(-9)) as a marker of elongase activity had opposite associations. Statistical significance persisted even after adjustment for baseline insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, and glycaemia. Palmitoleic acid (P = 0.010) and the ratio of 16:1n-7 to 16:0 (P = 0.004) nominally predicted incident type 2 diabetes, whereas linoleic acid had an opposite association (P = 0.004), and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids did not show any associations.


EMFAs and their ratios are associated longitudinally with changes in glycaemia and the risk type 2 diabetes.


Mahendran Y(1), Ågren J, Uusitupa M, Cederberg H, Vangipurapu J, Stančáková A, Schwab U, Kuusisto J, Laakso M. Association of erythrocyte membrane fatty acids with changes in glycemia and risk of type 2 diabetes.  Am J Clin Nutr. 99(1):79-85. Jan 2014.  doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.069740. Epub Oct 23 2013.

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