Background The association between dietary fatty acid intake and the development of atopic diseases has been inconsistent. This could be due to inter-individual genetic differences in fatty acid metabolism.
Objective The aim of the current study was to assess the influence of FADS1 FADS2 gene cluster polymorphisms on the association between dietary fatty acid intake and atopic diseases and allergic sensitization in 10-year-old children.
Methods The analysis was based on data from two German prospective birth cohort studies. Data on margarine and fatty acid intake were collected using a food frequency questionnaire. Information on atopic diseases was collected using a questionnaire completed by the parents. Specific IgE against common food and inhalant allergens were measured. Six variants of the FADS1 FADS2 gene cluster (rs174545, rs174546, rs174556, rs174561, rs174575 and rs3834458) were tested. Logistic regression modelling, adjusted for gender, age, maternal education level and study centre, was used to analyse the association between fatty acid intake and atopic diseases stratified by genotype.
Results No significant association was found between the six FADS single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and allergic diseases or atopic sensitization. The total n-3/total n-6 ratio was positive associated with an increased risk of hayfever in homozygous major allele carriers ranging from an adjusted odds ratios of 1.25 (95%-CI: 1.00–1.57) to 1.31 (95%-CI: 1.01–1.69) across the six tested SNPs although this association was not significant anymore after correcting for multiple testing. Daily margarine intake was significantly associated with asthma [1.17 (1.03–1.34) to 1.22 (1.06–1.40)] in individuals carrying the homozygous major allele. This association was also significant after correcting for multiple testing.
Conclusions & Clinical Relevance The association between dietary intake of fatty acids and allergic diseases might be modulated by FADS gene variants in children.
Cite this as: M. Standl, S. Sausenthaler, E. Lattka, S. Koletzko, C.-P. Bauer, H.-E. Wichmann, A. von Berg, D. Berdel, U. Krämer, B. Schaaf, S. Röder, O. Herbarth, N. Klopp, B. Koletzko and J. Heinrich for the GINIplus and LISAplus Study Group, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2011 (41) 1757–1766.