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Nutr Metab (Lond). 2013 Jul 18;10:50. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-10-50. eCollection 2013.

Plasma concentration of cis9trans11 CLA in males and females is influenced by SCD1 genetic variations and hormonal contraceptives: a cross-sectional study.

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Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, Animal Science/Nutrition Building, Rm 342, College of Biological Science, University of Guelph, 491 Gordon Street, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Office for Biotechnology, Genomics and Population Health, Public Health Agency of Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



The conjugated linoleic acid isomer cis9trans11 CLA can be endogenously synthesized from trans vaccenic acid (C18:1 t11) via desaturation at the delta 9 position catalyzed by the stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1), also known as delta-9 desaturase (D9D). Diet, hormonal regulation of gene expression and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been implicated in altering circulating levels of fatty acids. Hormonal contraceptives (HC) have also been shown to influence levels of some fatty acids. SNPs in SCD1 have been associated with altered levels of palmitoleic and oleic acids; however, associations between SCD1 SNPs and D9D desaturation index have not been previously examined in relation to CLA. Herein, we investigated the effects of sex and HC use on circulating concentrations of c9t11 CLA and D9D desaturation index. Furthermore, we determined the effects of ten SCD1 SNPs on D9D desaturation indices estimated by product to precursor ratio of c9t11 CLA to C18:1 t11.


PLASMA SAMPLES WERE COLLECTED FROM SUBJECTS (CAUCASIAN MALES: n = 113; Caucasian females: n = 298; Asian males: n = 98; Asian females: n = 277) from the Toronto Nutrigenomics and Health Study. Circulating fatty acids levels were measured by gas chromatography.


Results show that circulating c9t11 CLA concentrations are significantly higher in females than males and they are further elevated in females using HC. In addition, a significant sex- and ethnic-specific association was found between SCD1 SNP rs10883463 (p = 0.0014) and altered D9D activity in Caucasian males.


Findings from the present study identify SCD1 SNPs and hormonal contraceptives as factors altering endogenous c9t11 CLA levels in a sex- and ethnic-specific manner.


Hormonal contraceptives; SCD1; Single nucleotide polymorphisms; c9t11 CLA

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