Background:It is unknown if changes in the gene expression of the desaturase and elongase enzymes are associated with abnormal n-6 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA) levels in children with atopic eczema (AE). We analyzed whether mRNA-expression of genes encoding key enzymes of LC-PUFA synthesis (FADS1, FADS2 and ELOVL5) is associated with circulating LC-PUFA levels and risk of AE in 4-year-old children.Methods:AE (n=20) and non-AE (n=104) children participating in the Sabadell cohort within the INfancia y Medio Ambiente (INMA) Project were included in the present study. RT-PCR with TaqMan Low-Density Array cards was used to measure the mRNA-expression of FADS1, FADS2 and ELOVL5. LC-PUFA levels were measured by fast gas chromatography in plasma phospholipids. The relationship of gene expression with LC-PUFA levels and enzyme activities was evaluated by Pearson's rank correlation coefficient, and logistic regression models were used to study its association with risk of developing AE.Results:Children with AE had lower levels of several n-6 PUFA members, dihomo-γ-linolenic (DGLA) and arachidonic (AA) acids. mRNA-expression levels of FADS1 and 2 strongly correlated with DGLA levels and with D6D activity. FADS2 and ELOVL5 mRNA-expression levels were significantly lower in AE than in non-AE children (-40.30% and -20.36%; respectively), but no differences were found for FADS1.Conclusions and Significance:Changes in the mRNA-expression levels of FADS1 and 2 directly affect blood DGLA levels and D6D activity. This study suggests that lower mRNA-expressions of FADS2 and ELOVL5 are associated with higher risk of atopic eczema in young children.