Background and aim: In an animal model VLDL-triglyceride secretion is highly dependent on stearoyl-coA desaturase (SCD) activity and could explain abdominal fattening. The aim was to assess the relationship of plasma palmitoleic acid content, a product of SCD activity, with triglyceridemia and abdominal adiposity in humans.
Methods: We evaluated 134 healthy men. Plasma palmitoleic acid content was used as an indirect measurement of SCD activity because that enzyme catalyzes the desaturation from saturated to monounsaturated fatty acids and palmitoleic acid intake is very small.
Results: Subjects with triglycerides > or =75th percentile had a higher palmitoleic acid content than those with triglycerides <75th percentile (3.8+/-0.8 vs 2.8+/-0.9%, p<0.0001). Triglyceridemia was strongly correlated with palmitoleic acid content (PAC) (r=0.533, p<0.001). Mean triglyceridemia was 114% higher (1.43+/-0.75 vs 0.67+/-0.22 mmol/l) in the fourth quartile than in the first quartile of palmitoleic acid content. In a stepwise logistic regression analysis, palmitoleic acid content was the most strongly and independently associated parameter with triglyceridemia, and also with waist circumference when triglyceridemia was not included in the analysis.
Conclusion: Plasma palmitoleic acid content, a product of SCD activity, is an independent marker of triglyceridemia and abdominal adiposity in men. This enzyme (SCD) could represent a target for prevention and treatment of these metabolic disorders in particular in subjects at risk of developing a metabolic syndrome.