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Open Access Research article

Fatty acid composition of subcutaneous adipose tissue and gastric mucosa: is there a relation with gastric ulceration?

Vasileios A Pagkalos1*, Joanna Moschandreas2, Michael Kiriakakis2, Maria Roussomoustakaki1, Anthony Kafatos2 and Elias Kouroumalis1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Gastroenterology, University Hospital of Heraklion, Heraklion, Crete, Greece

2 Department of Social Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Nutrition, Medical School, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece

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BMC Gastroenterology 2009, 9:9  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-9-9

Published: 23 January 2009

Abstract

Background

Both in vitro and epidemiological studies indicate that dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids may play a protective role against peptic ulcer in humans. Adipose tissue fatty acid composition is thought to reflect dietary fatty acid intake. The aim of the present study is to investigate adipose and gastric mucosa fatty acid levels in relation to gastric ulceration status.

Methods

Fifty two adult outpatients undergoing upper gastrointestinal tract endoscopy participated in the study. Adipose tissue samples were taken from the abdomen and buttock during the endoscopy procedure and samples from gastric tissue were taken from a subsample of 30 subjects. The presence of Helicobacter pylori was determined using the CLO test. Capillary gas chromatography was used for the extraction of 36 and 42 adipose tissue and gastric mucosa lipids respectively.

Results

The monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) C18:1n-12c, C16:1n-5, C16:4n-1 and the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) C16:3n-4, C20:3n-3, C20:4n-6, C21:5n-3 and C18:2n-9c,12t of the gastric mucosa were present in higher proportions in ulcer negative patients. These unsaturated fatty acids, however, each contributed less than 1% on average to total fatty acid content. In addition, higher average levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) C20:5n-3 and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) C22:6n-3 were detected in abdominal and buttock samples in CLO negative controls, compared to CLO positive controls. Adipose tissue and gastric mucosa n-6 and trans fatty acid levels were positively linearly correlated (r = 0.37 and 0.41 for n-6 and trans fatty acids respectively).

Conclusion

Certain minor MUFAs and PUFAs of the gastric mucosa appear to be present in higher proportions in ulcer negative patients. Overall, the findings provide only weak evidence of an association between the gastric mucosal fatty acids and the presence of gastric ulceration. The higher average levels of EPA and DHA in abdominal and buttock adipose tissue in CLO negative controls could be an indicator that dietary FAs inhibit Helicobacter pylori growth. Larger studies are necessary to provide evidence of a biologically relevant effect.