Food and Behaviour Research

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Genetic variants of the FADS1 FADS2 gene cluster are associated with altered (n-6) and (n-3) essential fatty acids in plasma and erythrocyte phospholipids in women during pregnancy and in breast milk during lactation.

Xie L, Innis SM. (2008) J Nutr.  138(11) 2222-8 

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Abstract:

The enzymes encoded by fatty acid desaturase (FADS) 1 and FADS2 are rate-limiting enzymes in the desaturation of linoleic acid [LA; 18:2(n-6)] to arachidonic acid [ARA; 20:4(n-6)], and alpha-linolenic acid [ALA; 18:3(n-3)] to eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA; 20:5(n-3)] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA; 22:6(n-3)]. ARA, EPA, and DHA play central roles in infant growth, neural development, and immune function. The maternal ARA, EPA, and DHA status in gestation influences maternal-to-infant transfer and breast milk provides fatty acids for infants after birth. We determined if single nucleotide polymorphisms in FADS1 and FADS2 influence plasma phospholipid and erythrocyte ethanolamine phosphoglyceride (EPG) (n-6) and (n-3) fatty acids of women in pregnancy or their breast milk during lactation. We genotyped rs174553, rs99780, rs174575, and rs174583 in the FADS1 FADS2 gene cluster and analyzed plasma and erythrocyte fatty acids and dietary intake for 69 pregnant women and breast milk for a subset of 54 women exclusively breast-feeding at 1 mo postpartum. Minor allele homozygotes of rs174553(GG), rs99780(TT), and rs174583(TT) had lower ARA but higher LA in plasma phospholipids and erythrocyte EPG and decreased (n-6) and (n-3) fatty acid product:precursor ratios at 16 and 36 wk of gestation. Breast milk fatty acids were influenced by genotype, with significantly lower 14:0, ARA, and EPA but higher 20:2(n-6) in the minor allele homozygotes of rs174553(GG), rs99780(TT), and rs174583(TT) and lower ARA, EPA, 22:5(n-3), and DHA in the minor allele homozygotes G/G of rs174575. We showed that genetic variants of FADS1 and FADS2 influence blood lipid and breast milk essential fatty acids in pregnancy and lactation.