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Lipids. 2014 Mar;49(3):255-63. doi: 10.1007/s11745-013-3874-3. Epub 2013 Dec 15.

Plasma levels of 14:0, 16:0, 16:1n-7, and 20:3n-6 are positively associated, but 18:0 and 18:2n-6 are inversely associated with markers of inflammation in young healthy adults.

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  • 1Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada.


Inflammation is a recognized risk factor for the development of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis. Evidence suggests that individual fatty acids (FA) may have distinct influences on inflammatory processes. The goal of this study was to conduct a cross-sectional analysis to examine the associations between circulating FA and markers of inflammation in a population of young healthy Canadian adults. FA, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), and cytokines were measured in fasted plasma samples from 965 young adults (22.6 ± 0.1 years). Gas chromatography was used to measure FA. The following cytokines were analyzed with a multiplex assay: regulated upon activation normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES/CCL5), interleukin 1-receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), interferon-γ (IFN-γ), interferon-γ inducible protein 10 (IP-10), and platelet-derived growth factor β (PDGF-ββ). Numerous statistically significant associations (p < 0.05, corrected for multiple testing) were identified between individual FA and markers of inflammation using linear regression. Myristic (14:0), palmitic (16:0), palmitoleic (16:1n-7), and dihomo-γ-linolenic (20:3n-6) acids were positively associated with all markers of inflammation. In contrast, stearic acid (18:0) was inversely associated with hsCRP and RANTES, and linoleic acid (18:2n-6) was inversely associated with hsCRP, RANTES and PDGF-ββ. In conclusion, our results indicate that specific FA are distinctly correlated with various markers of inflammation. Moreover, the findings of this study suggest that FA profiles in young adults may serve as an early indicator for the development of future complications comprising an inflammatory component.

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