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J Nutr. 1997 Feb;127(2):370-7.

Diet-induced changes in liver and bile but not brain fatty acids can be predicted from differences in plasma phospholipid fatty acids in formula- and milk-fed piglets.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


The fatty acid composition of plasma phospholipids differs between infants fed formula and infants fed human milk, but the extent to which this is accompanied by differences in tissue phospholipid fatty acids is unclear. This paper describes analysis of plasma, liver and brain fatty acids from piglets fed one of seven formulas, varying in saturated, monounsaturated, (n-6) and (n-3) fatty acids or sow milk from birth for 18 d. Bile fatty acids were analyzed because they are secreted from liver and may be an important source of fatty acids for intestinal lipoprotein synthesis. The results were used to determine the relation between diet-related differences in plasma phospholipid fatty acids and those in brain, liver and bile. Where significant associations were found, prediction limits were constructed to assess the usefulness of analysis of plasma phospholipid fatty acids to predict diet-induced changes in tissue fatty acids. The proportions (g/100 g fatty acids) of 16:0, 18:0, 18:1, 18:2(n-6) and 20:4(n-6) in plasma phospholipids were significantly associated with the proportions of the same fatty acids in liver and bile, but not brain. The results show a reasonably precise, predictable association between plasma and liver, and plasma and bile fatty acids. Brain 20:4(n-6) and 22:6(n-3), in contrast, were not reliably associated with plasma phospholipid 20:4(n-6) and 22:6(n-3) for piglets fed milk or formula providing about 1.5% energy as 18:3(n-3).

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