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Lipids. 1993 Jul;28(7):631-6.

Phospholipid molecular species from human placenta lipids.

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INSERM U 352, Chimie Biologique INSA-Lyon, Villeurbanne, France.


The phospholipid molecular species from a large-scale preparation of human placenta lipids were analyzed. The major placental phospholipids were choline glycerophospholipids (CPL) (53.2 wt%), sphingomyelin (21.7 wt%) and ethanolamine glycerophospholipids (EPL) (14.6 wt%). 1,2-Diacyl-glycerophosphocholine was the most abundant subclass of CPL (91.7 mol%), while EPL contained 1,2-diacyl (54.6 mol%) and 1-alk-1'-enyl-2-acyl (43.8 mol%) subclasses. The level of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in total phospholipids was remarkably constant (38.4-39.9 mol%) within all placental batches tested. The long-chain PUFA, mainly 20:4n-6 and 22:6n-3 of the n-6 and n-3 series, respectively, were found in high proportion in all phospholipid classes, especially in EPL (46.7 mol%) and in inositol glycerophospholipids (IPL) (39.9 mol%). CPL and serine glycerophospholipids were much richer in 18:1n-9 and 18:2n-6. High levels of molecular species with arachidonic acid in the sn-2 position were found particularly in 1-alk-1'-enyl-2-acyl-glycerophosphoethanolamine (with 24.0 mol% 16:0 and 22.0 mol% 18:0 in sn-1 position) and in 1,2-diacyl glycerophosphoinositol with 42.6 mol% 18:0 in sn-1 position. EPL subclasses were rich in 22:6n-3, which occurs mainly as 16:0/22:6n-3 (11.7 mol%) in the plasmalogen form and as 18:0/22:6n-3, 16:0/22:6n-3 and 18:1/22:6n-3 in the diacyl forms. Based on their availability and composition, placental phospholipids could be of interest, for example, for supplementing artificial milk preparations with n-3 and n-6 long-chain PUFA for newborn infants with insufficiently developed 18:2n-6 and 18:3n-3 desaturation/elongation.

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