Transl Psychiatry. 2019 Aug 27;9(1):208. doi: 10.1038/s41398-019-0536-0.
Altered polyunsaturated fatty acid levels in relation to proinflammatory cytokines, fatty acid desaturase genotype, and diet in bipolar disorder.
Inflammation and altered polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) levels have been implicated in bipolar disorder (BD). A recent genome-wide association study identified a locus in the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) gene cluster conferring susceptibility to BD. In this study, we examined PUFA levels in patients with BD in relation to proinflammatory cytokines, FADS genotype, and dietary habits. We enrolled 83 patients with BD and 217 healthy controls who underwent plasma PUFA measurement. A subsample of 65 patients and 90 controls underwent plasma interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) measurement, and three FADS single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped. Information on fish consumption was obtained by a self-reported diet history questionnaire. In comparing PUFA levels between patients and controls, significant differences were found for all 7 PUFAs tested. Specifically, n-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) level was decreased, and n-6 arachidonic acid level was increased in the patients (p < 0.0001 for both). Plasma IL-6 and TNFα levels were both significantly increased in the patients. Plasma EPA level was negatively correlated with IL-6 and TNFα levels. The FADS genotype, which was associated with increased n-6 PUFA levels, was also associated with marked elevation in TNFα levels. Less frequent fish intake was associated with low EPA and high IL-6 level. Taken together, our results provide strong evidence for altered plasma PUFA and proinflammatory cytokine levels in patients with BD. Furthermore, FADS genotype and fish consumption may contribute not only to altered PUFA levels but also to inflammation in BD.