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Clin Physiol Biochem. 1990;8(2):91-100.

Changes in the fatty acid profiles of red blood cell membrane phospholipids in human neonates during the first month of life.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Granada, Spain.


We have studied the changes in the fatty acid profiles of red blood cell membrane phospholipids in 47 infants who were exclusively fed human milk from birth to 1 month of life. Twenty blood samples were obtained from cord, 15 at 7 days and 12 at 30 days after birth. Membrane phospholipids were obtained from erythrocyte ghosts by thin-layer chromatography and fatty acid composition was determined by gas liquid chromatography. Phosphatidylcholine showed the most important changes during early life; stearic, w6 eicosatrienoic and arachidonic acids decreased whereas oleic and linoleic acids increased. In phosphatidylethanolamine, palmitic and stearic acid declined and oleic, linoleic and docosahexenoic acids increased with advancing age. Small changes were noted for individual fatty acids in phosphatidylserine. In sphingomyelin stearic acid increased from birth to 1 month and linoleic, arachidonic and nervonic acids decreased. Total polyunsaturated fatty acids of the w6 series greater than 18 carbon atoms increased with advancing age in phosphatidylethanolamine and decreased in choline and serine phosphoglycerides and in sphingomyelin. Long chain fatty acids derived from linoleic acid decreased in phosphatidylcholine but increased in ethanolamine and serine phosphoglycerides. The different behavior in the changes observed in fatty acid patterns for each erythrocyte membrane phospholipid may be a consequence of its different location in the cell membrane bilayer and specific exchange with plasma lipid fractions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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