Estimated plasma stearoyl co-A desaturase-1 activity and risk of incident diabetes: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study

Lisa S. Chow, Shuzhen Li, Lynn E. Eberly, Elizabeth R. Seaquist, John H. Eckfeldt, Ron C. Hoogeveen, David J. Couper, Lyn M. Steffen, James S. Pankow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: Evidence from pre-clinical studies suggests inhibition of stearoyl co-A desaturase-1 (SCD-1) activity improves insulin sensitivity. Translation of these findings to humans remains less defined. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the association between different measures of SCD-1 activity and incident diabetes in a large, prospective human study. Methods: In 2738 white participants (aged 45-64 yrs, 47% men) who were free of diabetes at baseline, SCD-1 activity was estimated at baseline by plasma fatty acid ratios in cholesterol esters (SCD16c = 16:1n-7/16:0, SCD18c = 18:1n-9/18:0) and in phospholipids (SCD16p = 16:1n-7/16:0, SCD18p = 18:1n-9/18:0). Incident diabetes was ascertained during 3 follow-up visits. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to determine the association between estimated SCD-1 activity and incident diabetes. Results: During follow-up (mean 8.0 ± SE 2.1 years), 207 (7.6%) participants developed diabetes. After adjusting for age and sex, higher SCD16c, higher SCD16p, and lower SCD18p were significantly associated with incident diabetes. After additional adjustment for education, parental history of diabetes, smoking, dietary intake (carbohydrate, fiber, saturated/monounsaturated/polyunsaturated fat), alcohol use, physical activity, body mass index (BMI), waist-hip ratio, blood pressure, and lipid composition - only SCD16c remained significantly associated with incident diabetes (Hazard Ratio = 1.1 linearly across decreasing quintiles, 95% CI 1.01-1.30; p = 0.03) which remained nominally associated after adjusting for insulin resistance (p = 0.05). Conclusions: In a large community-based prospective cohort study, the estimate of SCD-1 activity by SCD16c had the strongest association with incident diabetes. Refinement of SCD-1 measurement and replication of its association with incident diabetes in an independent cohort is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-108
Number of pages9
JournalMetabolism: clinical and experimental
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study is carried out as a collaborative study supported by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute contracts ( HHSN268201100005C , HHSN268201100006C , HHSN268201100007C , HHSN268201100008C , HHSN268201100009C , HHSN268201100010C , HHSN268201100011C , and HHSN268201100012C ).


  • Fatty acid ratio
  • Prospective study
  • Type 2 Diabetes


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