Nutrigenomics employs high-throughput genomics technologies to unravel how nutrients modulate gene and protein expression and ultimately influence cellular and organism metabolism. The most often-applied genomics technique so far is transcriptomics, which allows quantifying genome-wide changes in gene expression of thousands of genes at the same time in one sample. The performance of gene expression quantification requires sufficient high-quality homogenous cellular material, therefore research in healthy volunteers is restricted to biopsies from easy accessible tissues such as subcutaneous adipose tissue, skeletal muscle and intestinal biopsies or even more easily accessible cells such as peripheral blood mononuclear cells from blood. There is now significant evidence that fatty acids, in particular unsaturated fatty acids, exert many of their effects through modulation of gene transcription by regulating the activity of numerous transcription factors, including nuclear receptors such as peroxisome proliferator activated receptors, liver X receptor and sterol regulatory binding proteins. This review evaluates the human nutrigenomics studies performed on dietary fat since the initiation of nutrigenomics research around 10 years ago. Although the number of studies is still limited, all studies clearly suggest that changes in dietary fatty acids intake and composition can have a significant impact on cellular adaptive response capacity by gene transcription changes in humans. This adds important knowledge to our understanding of the strong effects that various fatty acids can have on numerous metabolic and inflammatory pathways, signaling routes and homeostatic control in the cell and ultimately on whole body health. It is important to use and integrate nutrigenomics in all future nutrition studies to build up the necessary framework for evidence-based nutrition in near future.
- Fatty acids
- Gene expression
- Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs)