Demmelmair, H.1; Klingler, M.1; Campoy, C.2; Decsi, T.3; Koletzko, B.1

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition:
ABSTRACTS: Oral Presentation Abstracts
Author Information

1Labor für Stoffwechsel und Ernährungsforschung, Dr. von Haunersches Kinderspital der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Muenchen, Germany, 2Department of Pediatrics, University of Granada, Granada, Spain, 3Department of Pediatrics, University Medical School of Pecs, Pecs, Hungary

Submitted by: Hans.Demmelmair@med.uni-muenchen.de

Introduction: Intervention studies with dietary supplementation with n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids from fish oil during pregnancy showed benefits for the neurological development of infants. However, concerns have been raised that supplementation with fish oil providing high eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) concentrations during pregnancy may decrease arachidonic acid (AA) contents in fetal and maternal plasma phospholipids. AA contents has been related to infant growth. We investigated the relationship between placental EPA and AA contents in mother receiving different dietary supplements.

Methods: Placental tissue samples were obtained from healthy women with uncomplicated singleton pregnancies aged between 18 and 40 years from Spain (n=100), Hungary (n=54) and Germany (n=48). Subjects had been assigned at random, double blind to one of four supplementation groups: fish oil (500 mg DHA, 150 mg EPA, daily), folate (400 μg, daily), both in combination or a placebo during second half of pregnancy. Fatty acid composition of placental phospholipids, non-esterified fatty acids, triglycerides and cholesterolesters was analysed by gas chromatography.

Results: AA percentages in placental phospholipids (group 1: 22.3%±0.3; 2: 22.1%±0.2; 3: 22.2%±0.3; 4: 21.6%±0.3; mean±SEM) were not significantly different between groups, whereas the EPA contents in group 1 (0.17%±0.01) and 4 (0.20%±0.02) were higher (p<0.05) than in groups 2 (0.12%±0.01) and 3 (0.11%±0.01). EPA contents of all fractions ranged between 0.02% and 0.51% and AA contents between 17.5% and 31.6%. Negative correlations between the fatty acids were observed in phospholipids (r=−0.263) and cholesterol esters (r=−0.262) but not in the other fractions. In phospholipids an EPA increase of 0.1% was associated with a lowering of AA content by approximately 0.5%.

Conclusion: Our data show that a daily intake of 150 mg EPA does not cause significant group differences in the AA contents, although there is a negative correlation between EPA and AA content. The effect on the AA content seems to be small, considering the observed range. Therefore n-3 fatty acid supplementation up to the tested dose seems not to interfere with AA dependent processes in the placenta and might be recommended.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.