Serum fatty acid composition and insulin resistance are independently associated with liver fat markers in elderly men

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2010 Mar;87(3):379-84. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2009.11.019.


Aim: To investigate the relationships of serum fatty acid (FA) composition and estimated desaturase activities with the liver fat marker alanine aminotransferase (ALT).

Methods: 546 Swedish elderly men of a population-based cohort participated in this cross-sectional study. FA composition was assessed in serum cholesterol esters to determine dietary fat quality (e.g. linoleic) and desaturation products (e.g. dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid). Desaturase indices, including stearoyl coenzymeA desaturase-1 (SCD-1), were calculated by FA product-to-precursor ratios.

Results: In linear regression analyses adjusting for lifestyle, abdominal obesity and insulin sensitivity, the dietary biomarker linoleic acid (n-6), but not n-3 FAs, was inversely related to ALT. Desaturation products including palmitoleic, oleic, gamma-linolenic and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acids, and Delta6-desaturase and SCD-1 indices were directly related to ALT (all p<0.05). After further adjustment for factors previously linked to fatty liver (i.e. serum lipids, adiponectin concentrations), SCD-1 index (p=0.004) and insulin resistance (p<0.0001) were independent determinants of ALT activity, whereas waist circumference, triglycerides, non-esterified FA and adiponectin were not.

Conclusion: A low dietary intake of linoleic acid and elevated SCD-1 index may contribute to higher ALT activity in elderly men, even independently of obesity and insulin resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / blood*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Dietary Fats / blood
  • Fatty Acids / blood*
  • Fatty Liver / blood*
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology
  • Fluoroimmunoassay
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Obesity, Abdominal / blood
  • Obesity, Abdominal / physiopathology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase / blood*
  • Sweden


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase