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J Lipid Res. 1985 Apr;26(4):457-64.

A comparative study of eicosapentaenoic acid metabolism by human platelets in vivo and in vitro.


During long-term dietary n-3 fatty acid supplementation, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is not incorporated into phosphatidylinositol or -serine of human platelets in vivo and is not detectable in phosphatidic acid upon stimulation with thrombin. However, EPA is released from platelet phospholipids and metabolized to thromboxane B3 (TXB3). In contrast, in vitro, platelets incorporate [14C]EPA into phosphatidylinositol, whether they contain endogenous EPA in their cellular lipids or not. Following platelet stimulation, [14C]EPA appears in phosphatidic acid, as free fatty acid, and is transformed to TXB3. We conclude that the fatty acid compositions of platelet phospholipid subclasses are regulated with a high degree of specificity in vivo. Qualitative differences exist between in vivo and in vitro uptake of EPA into platelet phospholipid subclasses. After in vivo incorporation, EPA is released by action of a phospholipase A2.

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