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Biochem J. 1967 Sep;104(3):1040-7.

Characterization and metabolism of ovine foetal lipids.


1. Total phospholipid concentrations in liver, kidney and brain of the 140-day ovine foetus were only half of those in comparable maternal tissues. 2. Phosphatidylcholine was the predominant phospholipid in all foetal tissues examined. The most striking difference between foetal and maternal tissues in individual phospholipids was in the heart; foetal heart contained more ethanolamine plasmalogen than choline plasmalogen, whereas in adult tissue the concentration of these was reversed. Sphingomyelin content of foetal brain was only one-sixth of that of maternal brain tissue. 3. Oleic acid (18:1) was the predominant acid in the phospholipid extracted from foetal tissues, except in brain where palmitic acid (16:0) was slightly higher. In phospholipids from adult tissues there was a higher proportion of unsaturated fatty acids (linoleic acid, 18:2, and linolenic acid, 18:3) and a correspondingly lower proportion of oleic acid (18:1). The distribution of fatty acids in the neutral lipid fraction of foetal and maternal tissues was very similar; oleic acid (18:1) was generally the principal component. 4. (14)C derived from [U-(14)C]-glucose and [U-(14)C]fructose infused into the foetal circulation in utero was incorporated into the neutral lipids and phospholipids of heart, liver, kidney, brain and adipose tissue. 5. Phospholipid analysis revealed that the specific activity of phosphatidic acid was higher in liver than in other tissues. The specific activity of phosphatidylethanolamine was less than that of phosphatidylcholine in heart, but in other tissues they were about the same. The specific activities of phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidic acid in brain were very similar and were higher than the other components. The specific activity of phosphatidylserine was highest in liver and brown fat. 6. The pattern of incorporation of (14)C derived from [(14)C]glucose and [(14)C]fructose into foetal neutral lipids was similar. Diglyceride accounted for most of the radioactivity in brain, whereas triglyceride had more label in heart, liver, kidney and fat.

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