Free fatty acids (FFAs), also named nonesterified fatty acids, largely originate from the lipolysis of triacylglycerol stored in adipose tissue. Despite extensive research on sex- and age-dependent effects on lipolysis and lipid mobilization of adipose tissue, the primary differences in the metabolic characteristics of circulating FFAs among normal-weight healthy men and women during aging are still unclear. Here, we measured the concentrations of 45 FFAs in fasting sera of two Chinese community-based studies consisting of 201 metabolically healthy normal-weight adults to ascertain the associations of sex and age with FFA compositions and their upstream and downstream relations. Results showed greater conversions toward n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids of docosahexaenoic acid and n-6 of docosapentaenoic acid from their precursors in women than in men. Meanwhile, there were significantly positive correlations between the concentrations of a panel of saturated fatty acids with straight chain or branched chain and age in women, whereas no association was found in men. These findings highlight that sex and age should be considered as the potential confounding factors in assessing the risk for metabolic disturbance using FFA biomarkers.
Scopus Subject Areas
- branched-chain fatty acids
- free fatty acids
- normal-weight metabolically healthy
- waist circumference