Association of fatty acid composition in serum phospholipids with metabolic syndrome and arterial stiffness

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Apr;23(4):366-74. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2011.06.006. Epub 2011 Sep 15.


Background and aim: We examined the association of fatty acid (FA) composition in serum phospholipids with the features of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and arterial stiffness.

Methods: Korean men (n = 593, 30-79 yrs) were categorized based on the number of MetS risk factors (RFs) and measured for the markers of MetS, serum phospholipid FA composition and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), an index for the severity of arterial stiffness.

Results: Insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), baPWV, LDL size, and adiponectin were significantly altered corresponding to the number of MetS RFs. The proportions of total monounsaturated FA, palmitoleic acid (16:1), oleic acid (18:1ω-9) and dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA, 20:3ω-6) in serum phospholipids, and DGLA/linoleic acid (LA) (20:3ω-6/18:2ω-6), deta9-desaturase activity (D9D-16: 16:1/16:0 and D9D-18: 18:1ω-9/18:0) significantly increased corresponding to the number of MetS RFs, but D5D (20:4ω-6/20:3ω-6) decreased. baPWV positively correlated with HOMA-IR, palmitic acid (16:0), oleic acid, D6D (18:3ω-6/18:2ω-6), DGLA/LA and D9D-18, and negatively with adiponectin, LDL size, LA, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6ω-3) and D5D. Multiple stepwise regression models revealed that baPWV was significantly influenced by systolic blood pressure, age, body weight, triglyceride and LA in serum phospholipids (R(2) = 0.378). Interestingly, baPWV (1419 ± 1 cm/s) and MetS (22%) were highest in individuals with lower proportion of LA (< 12.361%) and higher proportion of DGLA (≥ 1.412%) in serum phospholipid FAs.

Conclusion: The features of MetS significantly related to serum phosopholipid FA composition. Particularly, arterial stiffness was associated with LA additively together with DLGA. It may suggest a potential benefit of sufficient amounts of LA in serum or in diet can reduce cardiovascular risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Ankle Brachial Index
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fatty Acids / blood*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Phospholipids / blood*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Republic of Korea
  • Vascular Stiffness*


  • ADIPOQ protein, human
  • Adiponectin
  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids
  • Phospholipids