Document Detail

Perinatal supply and metabolism of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids: importance for the early development of the nervous system.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12079857     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, arachidonic (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are essential structural lipid components of biomembranes. During pregnancy, long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) are preferentially transferred from mother to fetus across the placenta. This placental transfer is mediated by specific fatty acid binding and transfer proteins. After birth, preterm and full-term babies are capable of converting linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids into AA and DHA, respectively, as demonstrated by studies using stable isotopes, but the activity of this endogenous LC-PUFA synthesis is very low. Breast milk provides preformed LC-PUFA, and breast-fed infants have higher LC-PUFA levels in plasma and tissue phospholipids than infants fed conventional formulas. Supplementation of formulas with different sources of LC-PUFA can normalize LC-PUFA status in the recipient infants relative to reference groups fed human milk. Some, but not all, randomized, double-masked placebo-controlled clinical trials in preterm and healthy full-term infants demonstrated benefits of formula supplementation with DHA and AA for development of visual acuity up to 1 year of age and of complex neural and cognitive functions. From the available data, we conclude that LC-PUFA are conditionally essential substrates during early life that are related to the quality of growth and development. Therefore, a dietary supply during pregnancy, lactation, and early childhood that avoids the occurrence of LC-PUFA depletion is desirable, as was recently recommended by an expert consensus workshop of the Child Health Foundation.
Elvira Larque; Hans Demmelmair; Berthold Koletzko
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences     Volume:  967     ISSN:  0077-8923     ISO Abbreviation:  Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci.     Publication Date:  2002 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-06-24     Completed Date:  2002-08-02     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7506858     Medline TA:  Ann N Y Acad Sci     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  299-310     Citation Subset:  IM    
Division of Metabolism and Nutrition, Kinderklinik and Kinderpoliklinik, Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Arachidonic Acid / pharmacokinetics,  pharmacology*
Docosahexaenoic Acids / pharmacokinetics,  pharmacology*
Infant Behavior / drug effects
Infant, Newborn
Infant, Premature
Maternal-Fetal Exchange
Milk, Human
Nervous System / growth & development*
Visual Acuity / drug effects
Reg. No./Substance:
25167-62-8/Docosahexaenoic Acids; 506-32-1/Arachidonic Acid

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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