Alternation of plasma fatty acids composition and desaturase activities in children with liver steatosis

Man Chin Hua*, Hui Min Su, Tsung Chieh Yao, Ming Ling Kuo, Ming Wei Lai, Ming Han Tsai, Jing Long Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate changes in plasma fatty acids proportions and estimated desaturase activities for variable grading of liver steatosis in children. Methods: In total, 111 schoolchildren (aged 8–18 years) were included in the analysis from March 2015 to August 2016. Anthropometric evaluation, liver ultrasound examination and scoring for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD score = 0–6), and biochemical and plasma fatty acids analysis were performed. We compared the composition ratio of fatty acids between children with high-grade liver steatosis (NAFLD score = 4–6), low-grade liver steatosis (NAFLD score = 1–3), and healthy controls (NAFLD score = 0). In addition, correlation coefficients (r) between NAFLD score, metabolic variables, and estimated activity of desaturase indices (stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase-1 (SCD1), delta-5 and delta-6 desaturase) were calculated. Results: Compared with healthy controls, children with liver steatosis showed a higher proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids (21.16 ± 2.81% vs. 19.68 ± 2.71%, p = 0.024). In addition, children with high- grade liver steatosis exhibited higher proportions of palmitic acid (C16:0), palmitoleic acid (C16:1n-7), dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (C20:3n-6), adrenic acid (C22:4n-6), and docosapentaenoic acid (C22:5n-6); and lower proportions of eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5n-3) (P< 0.05). In all subjects, the NAFLD score was positively correlated with body mass index (BMI) (kg/m2) (r = 0.696), homeostasis model of assessment ratio–index (HOMA-IR) (r = 0.510), SCD1(16) (r = 0.273), and the delta-6 index (r = 0.494); and inversely associated with the delta-5 index (r = -0.443). Conclusion: Our current data suggested that children with liver steatosis was highly associated with obesity, and insulin resistance. In addition, increased endogenous lipogenesis through altered desaturase activity may contribute to the progression of liver steatosis in children.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0182277
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
StatePublished - 07 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Hua et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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