Your browser has javascript turned off or blocked. This will lead to some parts of our website to not work properly or at all. Turn on javascript for best performance.

The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Paul Franks

Paul Franks

Principal investigator

Paul Franks

Association between plasma phospholipid saturated fatty acids and metabolic markers of lipid, hepatic, inflammation and glycaemic pathways in eight European countries : A cross-sectional analysis in the EPIC-InterAct study


  • Ju Sheng Zheng
  • Stephen J. Sharp
  • Fumiaki Imamura
  • Albert Koulman
  • Matthias B. Schulze
  • Zheng Ye
  • Jules Griffin
  • Marcela Guevara
  • José María Huerta
  • Janine Kröger
  • Ivonne Sluijs
  • Antonio Agudo
  • Aurelio Barricarte
  • Heiner Boeing
  • Sandra Colorado-Yohar
  • Courtney Dow
  • Miren Dorronsoro
  • Pia T. Dinesen
  • Guy Fagherazzi
  • Paul W. Franks
  • Edith J.M. Feskens
  • Tilman Kühn
  • Verena Andrea Katzke
  • Timothy J. Key
  • Kay Tee Khaw
  • Maria Santucci de Magistris
  • Francesca Romana Mancini
  • Elena Molina-Portillo
  • Peter M. Nilsson
  • Anja Olsen
  • Kim Overvad
  • Domenico Palli
  • Jose Ramón Quirós
  • Olov Rolandsson
  • Fulvio Ricceri
  • Annemieke M.W. Spijkerman
  • Nadia Slimani
  • Giovanna Tagliabue
  • Anne Tjonneland
  • Rosario Tumino
  • Yvonne T. van der Schouw
  • Claudia Langenberg
  • Elio Riboli
  • Nita G. Forouhi
  • Nicholas J. Wareham

Summary, in English

Background: Accumulating evidence suggests that individual circulating saturated fatty acids (SFAs) are heterogeneous in their associations with cardio-metabolic diseases, but evidence about associations of SFAs with metabolic markers of different pathogenic pathways is limited. We aimed to examine the associations between plasma phospholipid SFAs and the metabolic markers of lipid, hepatic, glycaemic and inflammation pathways. Methods: We measured nine individual plasma phospholipid SFAs and derived three SFA groups (odd-chain: C15:0 + C17:0, even-chain: C14:0 + C16:0 + C18:0, and very-long-chain: C20:0 + C22:0 + C23:0 + C24:0) in individuals from the subcohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-InterAct case-cohort study across eight European countries. Using linear regression in 15,919 subcohort members, adjusted for potential confounders and corrected for multiple testing, we examined cross-sectional associations of SFAs with 13 metabolic markers. Multiplicative interactions of the three SFA groups with pre-specified factors, including body mass index (BMI) and alcohol consumption, were tested. Results: Higher levels of odd-chain SFA group were associated with lower levels of major lipids (total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides, apolipoprotein A-1 (ApoA1), apolipoprotein B (ApoB)) and hepatic markers (alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT)). Higher even-chain SFA group levels were associated with higher levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), TC/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) ratio, triglycerides, ApoB, ApoB/A1 ratio, ALT, AST, GGT and CRP, and lower levels of HDL-C and ApoA1. Very-long-chain SFA group levels showed inverse associations with triglycerides, ApoA1 and GGT, and positive associations with TC, LDL-C, TC/HDL-C, ApoB and ApoB/A1. Associations were generally stronger at higher levels of BMI or alcohol consumption. Conclusions: Subtypes of SFAs are associated in a differential way with metabolic markers of lipid metabolism, liver function and chronic inflammation, suggesting that odd-chain SFAs are associated with lower metabolic risk and even-chain SFAs with adverse metabolic risk, whereas mixed findings were obtained for very-long-chain SFAs. The clinical and biochemical implications of these findings may vary by adiposity and alcohol intake.


  • Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology
  • Internal Medicine - Epidemiology
  • EXODIAB: Excellence in Diabetes Research in Sweden
  • EpiHealth: Epidemiology for Health

Publishing year





BMC Medicine





Document type

Journal article


BioMed Central (BMC)


  • Endocrinology and Diabetes


  • Even-chain
  • Glycaemic
  • Hepatic
  • Inflammation
  • Lipids
  • Metabolic markers
  • Odd-chain
  • Saturated fatty acids
  • Very-long-chain



Research group

  • Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology
  • Internal Medicine - Epidemiology


  • ISSN: 1741-7015