Chisaguano AM, Montes R, Perez-Berezo T, Castellote AI, Guerendiain M, Bustamante M, Morales E, Garcia-Esteban R, Sunyer J, Franch A, Lopez-Sabater MC. Gene expression of desaturase (FADS1 and FADS2) and elongase (ELOVL5) enzymes in peripheral blood: association with polyunsaturated fatty acid levels and atopic eczema in 4-year-old children. PLoS One. 2013 Oct 22;8(10):e78245. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0078245

BACKGROUND: It is unknown if changes in the gene expression of the desaturase and elongase enzymes are associated with abnormal n-6 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA) levels in children with atopic eczema (AE). We analyzed whether mRNA-expression of genes encoding key enzymes of LC-PUFA synthesis (FADS1, FADS2 and ELOVL5) is associated with circulating LC-PUFA levels and risk of AE in 4-year-old children.

AE (n=20) and non-AE (n=104) children participating in the Sabadell cohort within the INfancia y Medio Ambiente (INMA) Project were included in the present study. RT-PCR with TaqMan Low-Density Array cards was used to measure the mRNA-expression of FADS1, FADS2 and ELOVL5. LC-PUFA levels were measured by fast gas chromatography in plasma phospholipids. The relationship of gene expression with LC-PUFA levels and enzyme activities was evaluated by Pearson’s rank correlation coefficient, and logistic regression models were used to study its association with risk of developing AE.

Children with AE had lower levels of several n-6 PUFA members, dihomo-γ-linolenic (DGLA) and arachidonic (AA) acids. mRNA-expression levels of FADS1 and 2 strongly correlated with DGLA levels and with D6D activity. FADS2 and ELOVL5 mRNA-expression levels were significantly lower in AE than in non-AE children (-40.30% and -20.36%; respectively), but no differences were found for FADS1.

CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: Changes in the mRNA-expression levels of FADS1 and 2 directly affect blood DGLA levels and D6D activity. This study suggests that lower mRNA-expressions of FADS2 and ELOVL5 are associated with higher risk of atopic eczema in young children.

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