Research Article: Effects of parenteral soybean oil lipid emulsion on the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid profile in very-low-birth-weight infants

Date Published: July , 2011

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Author(s): Hiromichi Shoji, Ken Hisata, Mitsuyoshi Suzuki, Naomi Yoshikawa, Hiroki Suganuma, Natsuki Ohkawa, Toshiaki Shimizu.


Conventional soybean lipid emulsions contain no docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or arachidonic acid (AA). We investigated the relationship between blood DHA and AA status in 27 very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants with or without parenteral lipid emulsion.

Sixteen infants received parenteral lipid emulsion, and 11 infants were control group. The fatty acid composition of the erythrocyte membrane was analysed at birth and at 2 weeks of age.

No significant difference in AA levels was observed in the lipid emulsion group between the two time points, whereas the AA levels at 2 weeks were significantly lower than at birth in the control group. The DHA levels in both groups at 2 weeks were significantly lower than at birth, but no group differences were observed at both time points.

The use of parenteral soybean oil lipid emulsions in VLBW infants in the postnatal period may prevent the decline in the AA level but does not appear to influence the DHA level.

Partial Text

Preterm infants, especially very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants, often require parenteral lipid emulsion if an adequate energy and lipid intake cannot be achieved by enteral feeding because their polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) body stores are very low, whereas their metabolic requirements are high. Therefore, a PUFA supply is of critical importance (1).

Samples from 27 VLBWIs were analysed, and the patient characteristics are summarized in Table 2. The mean birth weight and birth length of the lipid emulsion group were significantly lower than those of the control group. However, no differences in gestational age or head circumference were found between the groups. No significant differences in the time of starting enteral nutrition or the percentage of human milk at 2 weeks were found between the groups. A significant difference in the age of full feeding and the period of parenteral nutrition was observed between the groups (Table 3).

Very-low-birth-weight infants are usually treated routinely with total PN containing dextrose, amino acids, lipid emulsions, vitamins and minerals to maintain their nutritional status with the aim of matching normal intrauterine growth during the first few weeks of life.




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