Hepatic Unsaturated Fatty Acids Are Linked to Lower Degree of Fibrosis in Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Journal article, 2022

The hepatic lipidome of patients with early stages of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has been fairly well-explored. However, studies on more progressive forms of NAFLD, i.e., liver fibrosis, are limited.
Materials and methods:
Liver fatty acids were determined in cholesteryl esters (CE), phospholipids (PL), and triacylglycerols (TAG) by gas chromatography. Cross-sectional associations between fatty acids and biopsy-proven NAFLD fibrosis (n = 60) were assessed using multivariable logistic regression models. Stages of fibrosis were dichotomized into none-mild (F0–1) or significant fibrosis (F2–4). Models were adjusted for body-mass index (BMI), age and patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing protein 3 (PNPLA3 rs738409) (I148M) genotype. A secondary analysis examined whether associations from the primary analysis could be confirmed in the corresponding plasma lipid fractions.
PL behenic acid (22:0) was directly associated [OR (95% CI): 1.86 (1.00, 3.45)] whereas PL docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3) [OR (95% CI): 0.45 (0.23, 0.89)], TAG oleic acid (18:1n-9) [OR (95% CI): 0.52 (0.28, 0.95)] and 18:1n-9 and vaccenic acid (18:1n-7) (18:1) [OR (95% CI): 0.52 (0.28, 0.96)] were inversely associated with liver fibrosis. In plasma, TAG 18:1n-9 [OR (95% CI): 0.55 (0.31, 0.99)], TAG 18:1 [OR (95% CI): 0.54 (0.30, 0.97)] and PL 22:0 [OR (95% CI): 0.46 (0.25, 0.86)] were inversely associated with liver fibrosis.
Higher TAG 18:1n-9 levels were linked to lower fibrosis in both liver and plasma, possibly reflecting an altered fatty acid metabolism. Whether PL 22:6n-3 has a protective role, together with a potentially adverse effect of hepatic 22:0, on liver fibrosis warrants large-scale studies.





fatty acids


Michael Fridén

Uppsala University

Fredrik Rosqvist

Uppsala University

Håkan Ahlström

Uppsala University

Antaros Medical AB

Heiko G. Niessen

Boehringer Ingelheim

Christian Schultheis

Boehringer Ingelheim

Paul Hockings

MedTech West

Antaros Medical AB

Chalmers, Electrical Engineering, Signal Processing and Biomedical Engineering

Johannes Hulthe

Antaros Medical AB

Anders Gummesson

Sahlgrenska University Hospital

Alkwin Wanders

Aalborg Sygehus

Fredrik Rorsman

Uppsala University

Ulf Risérus

Uppsala University

Johan Vessby

Uppsala University

Frontiers in Medicine

2296858X (eISSN)

Vol. 8 814951

Subject Categories

Pharmaceutical Sciences

Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Nutrition and Dietetics





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Latest update

8/8/2022 2