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Fat and Fatty Acid Terminology, Methods of Analysis and Fat Digestion and Metabolism: A Background Review Paper

Nutrition Research Division, Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism (Impact Factor: 2.75). 01/2009; 55(1-3):8-43. DOI: 10.1159/000228994
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are essential for human cell and tissue development. In foetus, PUFAs are supplied via placental transfer from maternal circulation. After birth, PUFAs are supplied via the diet. Long chain PUFAs (LCPUFAs) may also be synthesized from precursor fatty acids present in the diet. LCPUFAs have modulatory effects on the immune system. As maturation of the immune system in the neonatal period appears to be crucial for protection against allergy development, a major aim of the study was to study the impact of fatty acid composition in infant blood at birth on allergy development. Secondly, we sought to elucidate the sources of infant LCPUFAs with focus on polymorphisms in genes responsible for production of LCPUFAs in the body from shorter dietary fatty acids. Third, we studied whether LCPUFA and vitamin D metabolism differed in allergic and non-allergic adolescents. High proportions of either n-6 or n-3 LCPUFAs, among cord serum phospholipids were positively associated with the risk of developing either respiratory allergy, or atopic eczema, diagnosed at 13 years of age. We hypothesized that LCPUFAs counteract activation of the infant’s immune system in response to microbial stimuli in early life, thereby hampering the proper immune maturation necessary for healthy immune development. Regarding determinants of cord serum LCPUFA composition, we found that single nucleotide polymorphisms in the FADS gene cluster affected the proportion of the main n-6 LCPUFA, arachidonic acid, in cord serum as well as in adolescent serum. FADS gene polymorphisms that were associated with decreased proportions of arachidonic acid were also associated with a low prevalence of atopic eczema. Increased proportions of the n-3 LCPUFAs DPA and DHA in cord serum phospholipids were instead related to increased length of pregnancy. Adolescents with established allergy did not differ from non-allergic controls regarding proportions of LCPUFAs in serum phospholipids. Nor did they differ in vitamin D status. Proportions of n-3 LCPUFA in serum reflected dietary intake of fish in non-allergic adolescents, but not in adolescents with atopic eczema. The results may suggest that subjects with atopic eczema have a different LCPUFA metabolism, maybe because of enhanced usage of LCPUFAs during the allergic inflammation. In conclusion, the results suggest that LCPUFA metabolism may affects the risk of allergy development and may also be altered as a result of the allergic state. The lack of relation between allergy and vitamin D status in adolescents does not exclude that neonatal vitamin D status may affect allergy development.
    04/2015, Degree: PhD, Supervisor: Ann-Sofie Sandberg, Agnes Wold, Anna Sansin
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    ABSTRACT: Fatty acids have traditionally been described as artery clogging species that is detrimental to overall health. The most prevalent fatty acid is palmitic acid (PA), a sixteen carbon chain fatty acid that is ubiquitous in biological systems. PA is prevalent in most eukaryotic cell membranes and in the mitochondria derived from the Krebs’ cycle utilizing acetyl-coenzyme A as its’ precursor. PA is found in a variety of plants with a high amounts in coconut oil. Many cosmetics, shampoos, and commercialized beauty products contain PA providing structure and substance to the gel or reagent. An emerging field of study is the esterified form of PA or methyl palmitate, as it is involved in biological signaling in the central nervous system. More specifically, methyl palmitate or palmitic acid methyl ester can cause arterial vasodilation and is thought to be involved in neurotransmission, as well as modulate vascular tonicity in cerebral circulation. Methyl palmitate has also been implicated as a neuroprotective agent in both models of focal and global cerebral ischemia; however, the exact mechanism(s) are still unknown. We will focus on the known pharmacology, biochemistry, and clinical implications of PA and other related fatty acids (i.e. Non-esterified v. esterified fatty acids) commonly found in daily diets. Additionally, cellular target(s) of PA will be discussed as it relates to improvement of disease states, synthesis, and possible health implications/benefits of methyl palmitate in biological systems.
    Palmitic Acid: Occurrence, Biochemistry and Health Effects, Edited by Lucas F. Porto, 01/2014; Nova Science Pub Inc., ISBN: 1633215199