American Diabetes Association
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Plasma Industrial and Ruminant Trans Fatty Acids and Incident Type 2 Diabetes in the EPIC-Potsdam Cohort

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posted on 2022-02-07, 16:28 authored by Marcela Prada, Clemens Wittenbecher, Fabian Eichelmann, Andreas Wernitz, Olga Kuxhaus, Janine Kröger, Cornelia Weikert, Matthias B. Schulze

While dietary intake of trans fatty acid (TFA) is a major public health concern as it raises the risk of cardiovascular events, it remains unclear whether TFA also impact risk of type 2 diabetes and whether industrial TFA and ruminant TFA exert the same effect on health.

Research Design and Methods:

To investigate the relation of seven ruminant and industrial TFA, including two conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), plasma phospholipids TFA were measured in a case-cohort study nested within the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Potsdam cohort. The analytical sample was a random subsample (n=1,248) and incident cases of type 2 diabetes (n=801) over a median follow-up of 6.5 years. Using multivariable Cox regression models, we examined associations of TFA with incident type 2 diabetes.


The TFA subtypes were intercorrelated with each other, with other fatty acids, and to different food sources. After controlling for other TFA, the industrial TFA (18:1n-6t, 18:1n-9t, 18:2n-6,9t) were not associated with diabetes risk. Some ruminant TFA subtypes were inversely associated with diabetes risk: vaccenic acid (18:1n-7t, HR per SD 0.72; 95% CI 0.58-0.89) and t10c12-CLA (0.81; 0.70-0.94), while c9t11-CLA was positively associated (1.39; 1.19-1.62). Trans-palmitoleic acid (16:1n-7t) was not associated with diabetes risk when adjusting for the other TFA (1.08; 0.88-1.31).


The TFA conformation plays an essential role in their relationship to diabetes risk. Ruminant TFA subtypes may have opposing relations to diabetes risk. Previous observations for reduced diabetes risk with higher circulating trans-palmitoleic acid are likely due to confounding.


This work was supported by a grant from the European Commission and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the Joint Programming Initiative A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life, within the ERA-HDHL cofounded joint call Biomarkers for Nutrition and Health (01EA1704), a grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the State of Brandenburg to the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) (82DZD00302). Clemens Wittenbecher was supported by an individual fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG).


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