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Genetic Variants of the FADS Gene Cluster and ELOVL Gene Family, Colostrums LC-PUFA Levels, Breastfeeding, and Child Cognition

Citation

Morales, Eva; Bustamante, Mariona; Gonzalez, Juan Ramon; Guxens, Monica; Torrent, Maties; Mendez, Michelle A.; Garcia-Esteban, Raquel; Julvez, Jordi; Forns, Joan; & Vrijheid, Martine, et al. (2011). Genetic Variants of the FADS Gene Cluster and ELOVL Gene Family, Colostrums LC-PUFA Levels, Breastfeeding, and Child Cognition. PLOS ONE, 6(2), e17181. PMCID: PMC3044172

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Breastfeeding effects on cognition are attributed to long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs), but controversy persists. Genetic variation in fatty acid desaturase (FADS) and elongase (ELOVL) enzymes has been overlooked when studying the effects of LC-PUFAs supply on cognition. We aimed to: 1) to determine whether maternal genetic variants in the FADS cluster and ELOVL genes contribute to differences in LC-PUFA levels in colostrum; 2) to analyze whether these maternal variants are related to child cognition; and 3) to assess whether children's variants modify breastfeeding effects on cognition.
METHODS: Data come from two population-based birth cohorts (n = 400 mother-child pairs from INMA-Sabadell; and n = 340 children from INMA-Menorca). LC-PUFAs were measured in 270 colostrum samples from INMA-Sabadell. Tag SNPs were genotyped both in mothers and children (13 in the FADS cluster, 6 in ELOVL2, and 7 in ELOVL5). Child cognition was assessed at 14 mo and 4 y using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development and the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities, respectively.
RESULTS: Children of mothers carrying genetic variants associated with lower FADS1 activity (regulating AA and EPA synthesis), higher FADS2 activity (regulating DHA synthesis), and with higher EPA/AA and DHA/AA ratios in colostrum showed a significant advantage in cognition at 14 mo (3.5 to 5.3 points). Not being breastfed conferred an 8- to 9-point disadvantage in cognition among children GG homozygote for rs174468 (low FADS1 activity) but not among those with the A allele. Moreover, not being breastfed resulted in a disadvantage in cognition (5 to 8 points) among children CC homozygote for rs2397142 (low ELOVL5 activity), but not among those carrying the G allele.
CONCLUSION: Genetically determined maternal supplies of LC-PUFAs during pregnancy and lactation appear to be crucial for child cognition. Breastfeeding effects on cognition are modified by child genetic variation in fatty acid desaturase and elongase enzymes.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0017181

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2011

Journal Title

PLOS ONE

Author(s)

Morales, Eva
Bustamante, Mariona
Gonzalez, Juan Ramon
Guxens, Monica
Torrent, Maties
Mendez, Michelle A.
Garcia-Esteban, Raquel
Julvez, Jordi
Forns, Joan
Vrijheid, Martine
Molto-Puigmarti, Carolina
Lopez-Sabater, M. Carmen
Estivill, Xavier
Sunyer, Jordi

PMCID

PMC3044172