The Journal of nutrition

Conjugated linoleic acid in humans: regulation of adiposity and insulin sensitivity.

PMID 14519781


Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) isomers, a group of positional and geometric isomers of linoleic acid [18:2(n-6)], have been studied extensively due to their ability to modulate cancer, atherosclerosis, obesity, immune function and diabetes in a variety of experimental models. The purpose of this review was to examine CLA's isomer-specific regulation of adiposity and insulin sensitivity in humans and in cultures of human adipocytes. It has been clearly demonstrated that specific CLA isomers or a crude mixture of CLA isomers prevent the development of obesity in certain rodent and pig models. This has been attributed mainly to trans-10, cis-12 CLA, both in vivo and in vitro. However, CLA's ability to modulate human obesity remains controversial because data from clinical trials using mixed isomers are conflicting. In support of some studies in humans, our group demonstrated that trans-10, cis-12 CLA prevents triglyceride (TG) accumulation in primary cultures of differentiating human preadipocytes. In contrast, cis-9, trans-11 CLA increases TG content. Closer examination has revealed that CLA's antiadipogenic actions are due, at least in part, to regulation of glucose and fatty acid uptake and metabolism. This review presents our current understanding of potential isomer-specific mechanisms by which CLA reduces human adiposity and insulin sensitivity.