A regulatory insertion-deletion polymorphism in the FADS gene cluster influences PUFA and lipid profiles among Chinese adults: A population-based study

Peiqin Li, Jing Zhao, Kumar S.D. Kothapalli, Xiang Li, Hui Li, Yuxuan Han, Shengquan Mi, Wenhua Zhao, Qizhai Li, Hong Zhang, Yiqing Song, J. Thomas Brenna, Ying Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background Arachidonic acid (AA) is the major polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) substrate for potent eicosanoid signaling to modulate inflammation and thrombosis and is controlled in part by tissue abundance. Fatty acid desaturase 1 (FADS1) catalyzes synthesis of omega-6 (n-3) AA and n-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The rs66698963 polymorphism, a 22-base pair (bp) insertion-deletion 137 bp downstream of a sterol regulatory element in FADS2 intron 1, mediates expression of FADS1 in vitro, as well as exerting positive selection in several human populations. The associations between the polymorphism rs66698963 and plasma PUFAs as well as disease phenotypes are unclear. Objective This study aimed to evaluate the relation between rs66698963 genotypes and plasma PUFA concentrations and blood lipid profiles. Design Plasma fatty acids were measured from a single sample obtained at baseline in 1504 healthy Chinese adults aged between 35 and 59 y with the use of gas chromatography. Blood lipids were measured at baseline and a second time at the 18-mo follow-up. The rs66698963 genotype was determined by using agarose gel electrophoresis. Linear regression and logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the association between genotype and plasma PUFAs and blood lipids. Results A shift from the precursors linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid to produce AA and EPA, respectively, was observed, consistent with FADS1 activity increasing in the order of genotypes D/D to I/D to I/I. For I/I compared with D/D carriers, plasma concentrations of n-6 AA and the ratio of AA to n-3 EPA plus docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were 57% and 32% higher, respectively. Carriers of the deletion (D) allele of rs66698963 tended to have higher triglycerides (β = 0.018; SE: 0.009; P = 0.05) and lower HDL cholesterol (β = -0.008; SE: 0.004; P = 0.02) than carriers of the insertion (I) allele. Conclusions The rs66698963 genotype is significantly associated with AA concentrations and AA to EPA+DHA ratio, reflecting basal risk of inflammatory and related chronic disease phenotypes, and is correlated with the risk of dyslipidemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)867-875
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • dyslipidemia
  • fatty acid desaturases
  • gene polymorphism
  • insertion-deletion
  • long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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