Association Between Genetic Variants in FADS1-FADS2 and ELOVL2 and Obesity, Lipid Traits, and Fatty Acids in Tunisian Population

Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2020 Jan-Dec:26:1076029620915286. doi: 10.1177/1076029620915286.


The aim of this study was to determine whether genetic variants in FADS1/FADS2 and ELOVL2 are associated with overweight-obesity and body mass index (BMI) and to assess the association between these genetic variants and lipid profile and fatty acid levels. A total of 259 overweight-obese patients were compared to 369 healthy controls. FADS1, FADS2, and ELOVL2 genes were associated with BMI and overweight-obesity (P ≤ .001). In an additive model, the C allele in each of these variants was associated with a lower BMI: -1.18, -0.90, and -1.23 units, respectively. Higher amounts of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, total saturated fatty acids (lauric [12:0], myristic [C14:0], palmitic [C16:0], stearic [C18:0], arachidic [20:0], lignoceric [24:0]), monounsaturated fatty acids (myristoleic [C14:1], erucic [C22:1 n-9]), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (α-linolenic [ALA, 18:3 n-3], docosahexaenoic [DHA, C22:6 n-3], eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA, C20:5n-3], arachidonic acid [AA, 20:4n-6], and conjugated linolenic acids [CLA1 and CLA2]) were shown in patients. A significant increase in D6D activities presented by 20:4n-6/18:2n-6 and 18:3n-6/18:2n-6, Δ9 desaturase (D9D) activity, estimated by the ratio 18:1n-9/18:0 and elongase activities (AE), and estimated by the ratio of docosatetraenoic/AA and DPA/EPA in patients. The C minor allele of FADS1 had significantly lower DHA. A significant decrease in stearic acid, EPA, and AE activity (docosatetraenoic/AA) was revealed in patients with the minor allele carriers of FADS2. The C minor allele of ELOVL2 had significantly lower ALA, EPA, DPA, and D6D activity (C20:4 n-6/C18:2n-6). These data suggest that variations in FADS1, FADS2, and ELOVL2 affect the risk of overweight-obesity and the level of circulating fatty acids and could point to a key molecular pathway of metabolic syndrome and its related comorbidities.

Keywords: ELOVL2; FADS1/FADS2; Tunisia; fatty acid; genotypes; lipid profile; overweight–obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Delta-5 Fatty Acid Desaturase
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acid Elongases / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Lipids / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tunisia


  • Delta-5 Fatty Acid Desaturase
  • ELOVL2 protein, human
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipids
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases
  • FADS1 protein, human
  • FADS2 protein, human
  • Fatty Acid Elongases