Essential fatty acid status of fetal plasma phospholipids: similar to postnatal values obtained at comparable gestational ages.

A.C. van Houwelingen, M.M.H.P. Foreman-van Drongelen, U. Nicolini, K.H. Nicolaides, M.D.M. Al, A.D.M. Kester, G. Hornstra

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Abstract

Essential fatty acid status of fetal plasma phospholipids: similar to postnatal values obtained at comparable gestational ages.

van Houwelingen AC, Foreman-van Drongelen MM, Nicolini U, Nicolaides KH, Al MD, Kester AD, Hornstra G.

Department of Human Biology, Limburg University, Maastricht, The Netherlands. A.C.Houwelingen@HB.Rulimburg.NL

Hardly any direct information is available on the essential fatty acid (EFA) status of the fetus during intrauterine development. Therefore, we studied 86 umbilical plasma samples obtained by trans-abdominal puncture during ongoing pregnancies (18.3-39.0 weeks of gestational age). These were compared with 51 samples of umbilical cord blood, collected immediately after birth (gestational ages, 28.5-39 weeks). The total amounts of fatty acids in fetal plasma phospholipids (mg/l) did not change during gestation. The relative amounts of linoleic acid (% of total fatty acids) showed a slight increase (P = 0.03) during fetal maturation. Arachidonic acid (20:4n-6) decreased (both absolute (mg/l) and relative (% wt/wt) P < or = 0.0001), while docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3) increased (absolute P < 0.003, relative P < 0.0001) when pregnancy progressed. The EFA profiles of fetal samples were in general comparable with postnatal results of infants born at similar gestational ages. However, the fetal linoleic acid status was lower than the linoleic acid status of the neonates. The same was true for the overall EFA status. The results of this study indicate that the low EFA status observed in preterm infants at birth, is a developmentally related phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-152
JournalEarly Human Development
Volume46
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996

Cite this

van Houwelingen, A. C., Foreman-van Drongelen, M. M. H. P., Nicolini, U., Nicolaides, K. H., Al, M. D. M., Kester, A. D. M., & Hornstra, G. (1996). Essential fatty acid status of fetal plasma phospholipids: similar to postnatal values obtained at comparable gestational ages. Early Human Development, 46, 141-152. https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-3782(96)01753-7