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Post-natal modulation of heart and liver phosphoglyceride fatty acids in pups

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

K Ghebremeskel, D Bitsanis, E Koukkou, C Lowy, L Poston, M A Crawford

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365 - 373
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number6
PublishedNov 1999

King's Authors


Background: Maternal dietary fats alter tissue fatty acids of the fetus and suckling pups. However, the possible change in tissue composition in response to the high oxygen tension extrauterine milieu independent of diet is not well understood. Methods: We have compared the fatty acids of heart and liver choline (CPG) and ethanolamine (EPG) phosphoglycerides of rat offspring at birth and post-natal day 15. Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a breeding diet prior to mating, pregnancy and lactation. A proportion of each litter was sacrificed and the liver and heart were obtained for analysis. Changes in fatty acid composition specific to tissue (heart and liver) and phosphoglyceride (CPG and EPG) occurred post-natally. Results: Relative levels of palmitate and oleate decreased and those of stearate increased in both the heart and liver phosphoglycerides of the suckling pups. There was a reduction in arachidonate/linoleate ratio primarily due to the increase in linoleic acid. With the exception in the heart EPG, the levels of arachidonic acid did not decrease concomitantly. Although the fatty acid composition of the diet did not change between pregnancy and lactation, docosahexaenoic and total n-3 increased in heart CPG and EPG and liver CPG of the suckling pups. Evidently, membrane fatty acid modulation, independent of maternal dietary fat, occurs in the extrauterine environment. It seems to favour the accretion of linoleic, arachidonic, docosahexaenoic and total n-3 fatty acids. Conclusion: Since there appears to be some parallel between the very preterm human neonate and rat pups with regard to nutrient store at birth and the neonatal developmental time window, our results may have relevance for the understanding of fatty acid metabolism and turnover in the human neonate. Copyright (C) 2000 S. Karger AG. Basel.

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