The dietary bioequivalence of α-linolenic (LNA) and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA) as substrates for brain and retinal n-3 fatty acid accretion during the brain growth spurt is reported for neonatal baboons who consumed a long-chain-polyunsaturate free commercial human infant formula with a n-6/n- 3 ratio of 10:1. Neonates received oral doses of 13C-labeled fatty acids (LNA*) or (DHA*) at 4 wk of age, and at 6 wk brain (occipital cortex), retina, retinal pigment epithelium, liver, erythrocytes, and plasma were analyzed. In the brain, 1.71% of the preformed DHA* dose was detected, whereas 0.23% of the LNA* dose was detected as DHA*, indicating that preformed DHA is 7-fold more effective than LNA-derived DHA as a source for DHA accretion. In LNA*-dosed animals, DHA* was greater than 60% of labeled fatty acids in all tissues except erythrocytes, where docosapentaenoic acid was 55%. Estimates using dietary LNA levels as tracees indicate that brain turnover of DHA is less than 5% per week between weeks 4 and 6 of life. For retina and retinal pigment epithelium, preformed DHA was at levels 12-fold and 15-fold greater than LNA-derived DHA. Liver, plasma, and erythrocytes ratios were 27, 29, and 51, respectively, showing that these pools do not parallel tissue metabolism of a single dose of omega-3 fatty acids. The distributions of labeled fatty acids for LNA*-dosed animals were similar, in the order DHA > DPA > EPA > LNA, except for erythrocytes where docosapentaenoic acid predominated. These are the first direct measurements of the bioequivalence of DHA and LNA in neonatal primate brain and associated tissues.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health