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Pediatr Res. 1993 Jun;33(6):543-7.

Fatty acid-induced injury in developing piglet intestine: effect of degree of saturation and carbon chain length.

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Department of Physiology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, Shreveport 71130.


Luminal perfusion with the long-chain fatty acid (LCFA) oleate in concentrations similar to that found in premature infant formula produces a dose- and age-dependent mucosal injury in developing intestine. To investigate whether this lipid-induced phenomenon is a function of the degree of saturation and/or chain length of the fatty acid, 51Cr-EDTA plasma-to-lumen clearance was measured in jejunum and ileum of 1-d-, 3-d-, 2-wk-, and 1-mo-old piglets after perfusion with 5-mM solutions of different medium-chain saturated fatty acids and saturated and unsaturated LCFA. Mono- and polyunsaturated LCFA produced significant increases in jejunal permeability. In general, this effect was greater in piglets < or = 2 wk old compared with 1-mo-old animals, but no differences were observed among the unsaturated LCFA within an age group. In contrast, the alterations in mucosal permeability induced by medium-chain fatty acids were overall more attenuated than those induced by LCFA. Our results suggest that developing intestine is vulnerable to the injurious effect of dietary fatty acids and that the lipid-induced changes in mucosal permeability appear to be a function of the fatty acid chain length. The degree of saturation of the fatty acid does not alter its cytotoxic effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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