A genetic score for predisposition to low-grade inflammation may help identify population at risk of developing metabolic syndrome
Omega-3-rich diets have been shown to improve inflammatory status. However, in an ex vivo system of human blood cells, the efficacy of lipid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the cytokine response are attenuated in overweight subjects and show high inter-individual variability. This action suggests that obesity may be exerting a synergistic effect with the genetic background disturbing the anti-inflammatory potential of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). The research group elaborated and assessed a genetic risk score to explore the risk associated with low-grade inflammation and obesity (LGI-Ob) as a tool to help identify population at risk of metabolic syndrome. Pro-inflammatory gene expression and cytokine production in response to omega-3 were associated with the LGI-Ob score; and a lower anti-inflammatory effect of PUFA was observed in subjects with a high genetic score. Furthermore, overweight/obese individuals showed a positive correlation of both plasma C-reactive protein and triglyceride/HDLc-index with LGI-Ob; and a high LGI-Ob score was associated with greater hypertension (p = 0.047), type 2 diabetes (p = 0.026) and metabolic risk (p = 0.021). The study shows that genetic variation can influence inflammation and omega-3 response, and that the LGI-Ob score could be a useful tool to classify subjects at inflammatory risk and more prone to suffering metabolic syndrome and associated metabolic disturbances.