Trans-Palmitoleic acid, other dairy fat biomarkers, and incident diabetes: The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis (MESA)

Dariush Mozaffarian, Marcia C. De Oliveira Otto, Rozenn N. Lemaitre, Amanda M. Fretts, Gokhan Hotamisligil, Michael Y. Tsai, David S. Siscovick, Jennifer A. Nettleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


Background: Dairy consumption is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, but constituents responsible for this relation are not established. Emerging evidence suggests that trans-palmitoleate (trans 16:1n-7), a fatty acid in dairy and also partially hydrogenated oils, may be associated with a more favorable metabolic profile and less incident diabetes. Objective: We investigated the association of trans-palmitoleate with metabolic risk and incident diabetes in a multiethnic US cohort. Design: Phospholipid fatty acids and metabolic risk factors were measured in 2000-2002 among 2617 adults in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a cohort of white, black, Hispanic, and Chinese Americans. In 2281 participants free of baseline diabetes, we also prospectively assessed the risk of new-onset diabetes (205 cases) from baseline to 2005-2007. Results: trans-Palmitoleate concentrations correlated positively with self-reported consumption of whole-fat dairy, butter, margarine, and baked desserts and with other circulating biomarkers of both dairy fat and partially hydrogenated oil consumption, which suggested mixed dietary sources. After multivariable adjustment, trans-palmitoleate concentrations were associated with higher LDL cholesterol (quintile 5 compared with quintile 1: +6.4%; P-trend = 0.005), lower triglycerides (-19.1%; P-trend < 0.001), lower fasting insulin (-9.1%; P-trend = 0.002), and lower systolic blood pressure (22.4 mm Hg; P-trend = 0.01). In prospective analyses, trans-palmitoleate was independently associated with lower incident diabetes (P-trend = 0.02), including a 48% lower risk in quintile 5 compared with quintile 1 (HR: 0.52; 95% CI: 0.32, 0.85). All findings were similar between men and women and between different race-ethnic subgroups. Conclusions: Circulating trans-palmitoleate is associated with higher LDL cholesterol but also with lower triglycerides, fasting insulin, blood pressure, and incident diabetes in a multiethnic US cohort. Our findings support the need for further experimental and dietary intervention studies that target circulating trans-palmitoleate. The MESA trial was registered at as NCT00005487.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)854-861
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Trans-Palmitoleic acid, other dairy fat biomarkers, and incident diabetes: The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis (MESA)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this