Skip to main content Accessibility help

Adipose tissue trans-fatty acids and changes in body weight and waist circumference

  • Camilla P. Hansen (a1) (a2) (a3), Tina L. Berentzen (a3), Jane N. Østergaard (a1) (a2), Christina C. Dahm (a1), Lars I. Hellgren (a4), Erik B. Schmidt (a2), Anne Tjønneland (a5), Thorkild I. A. Sørensen (a3) (a6), Kim Overvad (a1) (a2) and Marianne U. Jakobsen (a1)...


Previous studies have suggested that the intake of trans-fatty acids (TFA) plays a role in the development of obesity. The proportions of adipose tissue fatty acids not synthesised endogenously in humans, such as TFA, usually correlate well with the dietary intake. Hence, the use of these biomarkers may provide a more accurate measure of habitual TFA intake than that obtained with dietary questionnaires. The objective of the present study was to investigate the associations between the proportions of specific TFA in adipose tissue and subsequent changes in weight and waist circumference (WC). The relative content of fatty acids in adipose tissue biopsies from a random sample of 996 men and women aged 50–64 years drawn from a Danish cohort study was determined by GC. Baseline data on weight, WC and potential confounders were available together with information on weight and WC 5 years after enrolment. The exposure measures were total trans-octadecenoic acids (18 : 1t), 18 : 1 Δ6-10t, vaccenic acid (18 : 1 Δ11t) and rumenic acid (18 : 2 Δ9c, 11t). Data were analysed using multiple regression with cubic spline modelling. The median proportion of total adipose tissue 18 : 1t was 1·52 % (90 % central range 0·98, 2·19) in men and 1·47 % (1·01, 2·19) in women. No significant associations were observed between the proportions of total 18 : 1t, 18 : 1 Δ6-10t, vaccenic acid or rumenic acid and changes in weight or WC. The present study suggests that the proportions of specific TFA in adipose tissue are not associated with subsequent changes in weight or WC within the exposure range observed in this population.


Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: C. P. Hansen, fax +45 3816 3119, email


Hide All
1 Thompson, AK, Minihane, AM & Williams, CM (2011) Trans fatty acids and weight gain. Int J Obes (Lond) 35, 315324.
2 Stender, S, Astrup, A & Dyerberg, J (2008) Ruminant and industrially produced trans fatty acids: health aspects. Food Nutr Res 52, .
3 Turpeinen, AM, Mutanen, M, Aro, A, et al. (2002) Bioconversion of vaccenic acid to conjugated linoleic acid in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 76, 504510.
4 Haug, A, Hostmark, AT & Harstad, OM (2007) Bovine milk in human nutrition – a review. Lipids Health Dis 6, 25.
5 Gebauer, SK, Psota, TL & Kris-Etherton, PM (2007) The diversity of health effects of individual trans fatty acid isomers. Lipids 42, 787799.
6 Wang, Y & Jones, PJ (2004) Dietary conjugated linoleic acid and body composition. Am J Clin Nutr 79, 1153S1158S.
7 Field, AE, Willett, WC, Lissner, L, et al. (2007) Dietary fat and weight gain among women in the Nurses' Health Study. Obesity (Silver Spring) 15, 967976.
8 Koh-Banerjee, P, Chu, NF, Spiegelman, D, et al. (2003) Prospective study of the association of changes in dietary intake, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and smoking with 9-y gain in waist circumference among 16 587 US men. Am J Clin Nutr 78, 719727.
9 Hansen, CP, Berentzen, TL, Halkjaer, J, et al. (2012) Intake of ruminant trans fatty acids and changes in body weight and waist circumference. Eur J Clin Nutr 66, 11041109.
10 Smit, LA, Willett, WC & Campos, H (2010) trans-Fatty acid isomers in adipose tissue have divergent associations with adiposity in humans. Lipids 45, 693700.
11 Tjonneland, A, Overvad, K, Thorling, E, et al. (1993) Adipose tissue fatty acids as biomarkers of dietary exposure in Danish men and women. Am J Clin Nutr 57, 629633.
12 Arner, P, Bernard, S, Salehpour, M, et al. (2011) Dynamics of human adipose lipid turnover in health and metabolic disease. Nature 478, 110113.
13 Hodson, L, Skeaff, CM & Fielding, BA (2008) Fatty acid composition of adipose tissue and blood in humans and its use as a biomarker of dietary intake. Prog Lipid Res 47, 348380.
14 Willett, W (1998) Nutritional Epidemiology, 2nd ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
15 Bendsen, NT, Christensen, R, Bartels, EM, et al. (2011) Consumption of industrial and ruminant trans fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Eur J Clin Nutr 65, 773783.
16 Mozaffarian, D, Katan, MB, Ascherio, A, et al. (2006) Trans fatty acids and cardiovascular disease. N Engl J Med 354, 16011613.
17 Tjonneland, A, Olsen, A, Boll, K, et al. (2007) Study design, exposure variables, and socioeconomic determinants of participation in Diet, Cancer and Health: a population-based prospective cohort study of 57,053 men and women in Denmark. Scand J Public Health 35, 432441.
18 Beynen, AC & Katan, MB (1985) Rapid sampling and long-term storage of subcutaneous adipose-tissue biopsies for determination of fatty acid composition. Am J Clin Nutr 42, 317322.
19 Gjerstorff, ML (2011) The Danish Cancer Registry. Scand J Public Health 39, 4245.
20 Andersen, TF, Madsen, M, Jorgensen, J, et al. (1999) The Danish National Hospital Register. A valuable source of data for modern health sciences. Dan Med Bull 46, 263268.
21 Carstensen, B, Kristensen, JK, Ottosen, P, et al. (2008) The Danish National Diabetes Register: trends in incidence, prevalence and mortality. Diabetologia 51, 21872196.
22 Harrell, FE (2001) Regression Modeling Strategies. With Applications to Linear Models, Logistic Regression and Survival Analysis, 1st ed. New York, NY: Springer.
23 Greenland, S (1995) Dose-response and trend analysis in epidemiology: alternatives to categorical analysis. Epidemiology 6, 356365.
24 Cantwell, MM (2000) Assessment of individual fatty acid intake. Proc Nutr Soc 59, 187191.
25 Hunter, DJ, Rimm, EB, Sacks, FM, et al. (1992) Comparison of measures of fatty acid intake by subcutaneous fat aspirate, food frequency questionnaire, and diet records in a free-living population of US men. Am J Epidemiol 135, 418427.
26 Garland, M, Sacks, FM, Colditz, GA, et al. (1998) The relation between dietary intake and adipose tissue composition of selected fatty acids in US women. Am J Clin Nutr 67, 2530.
27 London, SJ, Sacks, FM, Caesar, J, et al. (1991) Fatty acid composition of subcutaneous adipose tissue and diet in postmenopausal US women. Am J Clin Nutr 54, 340345.
28 Baylin, A, Kabagambe, EK, Siles, X, et al. (2002) Adipose tissue biomarkers of fatty acid intake. Am J Clin Nutr 76, 750757.
29 Lemaitre, RN, King, IB, Patterson, RE, et al. (1998) Assessment of trans-fatty acid intake with a food frequency questionnaire and validation with adipose tissue levels of trans-fatty acids. Am J Epidemiol 148, 10851093.
30 Leth, T, Jensen, HG, Mikkelsen, AA, et al. (2006) The effect of the regulation on trans fatty acid content in Danish food. Atheroscler Suppl 7, 5356.
31 Mamalakis, G, Kafatos, A, Manios, Y, et al. (2002) Abdominal vs buttock adipose fat: relationships with children's serum lipid levels. Eur J Clin Nutr 56, 10811086.
32 Bigaard, J, Spanggaard, I, Thomsen, BL, et al. (2005) Self-reported and technician-measured waist circumferences differ in middle-aged men and women. J Nutr 135, 22632270.
33 Rosell, M, Johansson, G, Berglund, L, et al. (2005) The relation between alcohol intake and physical activity and the fatty acids 14 : 0, 15 : 0 and 17 : 0 in serum phospholipids and adipose tissue used as markers for dairy fat intake. Br J Nutr 93, 115121.
34 Biong, AS, Veierod, MB, Ringstad, J, et al. (2006) Intake of milk fat, reflected in adipose tissue fatty acids and risk of myocardial infarction: a case–control study. Eur J Clin Nutr 60, 236244.
35 Warensjo, E, Jansson, JH, Cederholm, T, et al. (2010) Biomarkers of milk fat and the risk of myocardial infarction in men and women: a prospective, matched case–control study. Am J Clin Nutr 92, 194202.
36 Smedman, AE, Gustafsson, IB, Berglund, LG, et al. (1999) Pentadecanoic acid in serum as a marker for intake of milk fat: relations between intake of milk fat and metabolic risk factors. Am J Clin Nutr 69, 2229.
37 Lee, E, Lee, S & Park, Y (2008) n-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids in patients with the metabolic syndrome: a case–control study in Korea. Br J Nutr 100, 609614.
38 Kavanagh, K, Jones, KL, Sawyer, J, et al. (2007) Trans fat diet induces abdominal obesity and changes in insulin sensitivity in monkeys. Obesity (Silver Spring) 15, 16751684.
39 Micha, R & Mozaffarian, D (2009) Trans fatty acids: effects on metabolic syndrome, heart disease and diabetes. Nat Rev Endocrinol 5, 335344.
40 Lovejoy, JC, Smith, SR, Champagne, CM, et al. (2002) Effects of diets enriched in saturated (palmitic), monounsaturated (oleic), or trans (elaidic) fatty acids on insulin sensitivity and substrate oxidation in healthy adults. Diabetes Care 25, 12831288.
41 Flint, A, Helt, B, Raben, A, et al. (2003) Effects of different dietary fat types on postprandial appetite and energy expenditure. Obes Res 11, 14491455.


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Hansen Supplementary Materials
Table S1

 PDF (44 KB)
44 KB


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed