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Genetic variation in lipid desaturases and its impact on the development of human disease

By Diana M Merino, David WL Ma and David M Mutch

Abstract

Perturbations in lipid metabolism characterize many of the chronic diseases currently plaguing our society, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Thus interventions that target plasma lipid levels remain a primary goal to manage these diseases. The determinants of plasma lipid levels are multi-factorial, consisting of both genetic and lifestyle components. Recent evidence indicates that fatty acid desaturases have an important role in defining plasma and tissue lipid profiles. This review will highlight the current state-of-knowledge regarding three desaturases (Scd-1, Fads1 and Fads2) and their potential roles in disease onset and development. Although research in rodent models has provided invaluable insight into the regulation and functions of these desaturases, the extent to which murine research can be translated to humans remains unclear. Evidence emerging from human-based research demonstrates that genetic variation in human desaturase genes affects enzyme activity and, consequently, disease risk factors. Moreover, this genetic variation may have a trans-generational effect via breastfeeding. Therefore inter-individual variation in desaturase function is attributed to both genetic and lifestyle components. As such, population-based research regarding the role of desaturases on disease risk is challenged by this complex gene-lifestyle paradigm. Unravelling the contribution of each component is paramount for understanding the inter-individual variation that exists in plasma lipid profiles, and will provide crucial information to develop personalized strategies to improve health management

Topics: Review
Publisher: BioMed Central
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:2914715
Provided by: PubMed Central

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