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Comp Med. 2010 Dec;60(6):486-90.

Blood D-(-)-3-hydroxybutyrate concentrations after oral administration of trioctanoin, trinonanoin, or tridecanoin to newborn rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta).

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.


Premature newborn infants are born with limited stores of glycogen and fat. Energy, such as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which can spare the use of body protein as metabolic energy, may be beneficial. This study compares MCT containing C8, C9, or C10 fatty acids as oral sources of energy for newborn rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). On day 1 of life, 4 groups of 5 monkeys were given a single dose of water or MCT by nasogastric tube. The dose provided approximately 80% of the expected energy requirement. Plasma C8:0, C9:0, and C10:0 fatty acids and whole-blood D-(-)-3-hydroxybutyrate (3HB) concentrations were measured at 0, 1, and 3 h after dosing. Concentrations of free fatty acids (C8, C9, or C10) and ketone (3HB) increased with time after the dose. At 1 and 3 h, concentrations of C8 and C9 did not differ, but C9 was greater than C10. At 1 h, blood 3HB concentrations due to C8 triglyceride were higher than C9 or C10 (503 versus 174 and 225 μmol/L respectively). As MCT chain length increased from C8 to C10, blood concentration of 3HB decreased. Odd-chain MCT (C9 versus C8) resulted in lower whole-blood ketone (3HB), perhaps due to C9 metabolism or the rate of release or uptake of fatty acids. These results have implications for the use of MCT in nutritional supplements for preterm infants.

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