Listed in Issue 261


ALSHARARI and COLLEAGUES, 1. Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; 2. Unit of Cardiovascular Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; 3. Division of Family medicine, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; 4. Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Danderyds Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; 5. Cardiology Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Abdominal obesity is a key contributor of metabolic disease. Recent trials suggest that dietary fat quality affects abdominal fat content, where palmitic acid and linoleic acid influence abdominal obesity differently, while effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are less studied. Also, fatty acid desaturation may be altered in abdominal obesity.


The authors aimed to investigate cross-sectional associations of serum fatty acids and desaturases with abdominal obesity prevalence in a population-based cohort study. Serum cholesteryl ester fatty acids composition was measured by gas chromatography in 60-year old men (n = 1883) and women (n = 2015). Cross-sectional associations of fatty acids with abdominal obesity prevalence and anthropometric measures (e.g., sagittal abdominal diameter) were evaluated in multivariable-adjusted logistic and linear regression models, respectively. Similar models were employed to investigate relations between desaturase activities (estimated by fatty acid ratios) and abdominal obesity.


In logistic regression analyses, palmitic acid, stearoyl-CoA-desaturase and Δ6-desaturase indices were associated with abdominal obesity; multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for highest versus lowest quartiles were 1.45 (1.19-1.76), 4.06 (3.27-5.05), and 3.07 (2.51-3.75), respectively. Linoleic acid, α-linolenic acid, docohexaenoic acid, and Δ5-desaturase were inversely associated with abdominal obesity; multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence intervals): 0.39 (0.32-0.48), 0.74 (0.61-0.89), 0.76 (0.62-0.93), and 0.40 (0.33-0.49), respectively. Eicosapentaenoic acid was not associated with abdominal obesity. Similar results were obtained from linear regression models evaluating associations with different anthropometric measures. Sex-specific and linear associations were mainly observed for n3-polyunsaturated fatty acids, while associations of the other exposures were generally non-linear and similar across sexes. In accordance with findings from short-term trials, abdominal obesity was more common among individuals with relatively high proportions of palmitic acid, whilst the contrary was true for linoleic acid.


Further trials should examine the potential role of linoleic acid and its main dietary source, vegetable oils, in abdominal obesity prevention.


Alsharari ZD1, Risérus U1, Leander K2, Sjögren P1, Carlsson AC3, Vikström M2, Laguzzi F2, Gigante B2,4, Cederholm T1, De Faire U2,5, Hellénius ML5, Marklund M1. Serum Fatty Acids, Desaturase Activities and Abdominal Obesity - A Population-Based Study of 60-Year Old Men and Women. PLoS One. 12(1):e0170684. Jan 26 2017. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170684. eCollection 2017.

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