To study plasma arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) status in Tunisian very low birth weight (VLBW) infants and their association with selected neonatal morbidities. A total of 709 VLBW infants and 339 term infants were included. Plasma fatty acids were analyzed using capillary gas chromatography. VLBW infants had significantly (p < 0.001) lower plasma AA (9.44 ± 2.12 vs. 10.8 ± 2.10) and DHA (2.56 ± 0.89 vs. 3.46 ± 1.09) levels, but higher n-6:n-3 ratio (5.58 ± 1.22 vs. 5.17 ± 1.46) than term infants. In VLBW infants, plasma AA and DHA were related to gestational age (r = 0.156; p = 0.001 and r = 0.134; p = 0.003, respectively), birthweight (r = 0.242; p < 0.001 and r = 0.181; p < 0.001, respectively) and head circumference (r = 0.138; p = 0.005 and r = 0.108; p = 0.027, respectively). Infants with respiratory distress syndrome have decreased plasma AA and DHA and those with intraventricular hemorrhage have decreased plasma AA and n-6:n-3 ratio. Sepsis was associated with decreased DHA levels. Plasma long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids status is low in VLBW infants. These deficits may enhance the risk of common neonatal morbidities, rendering their prevention and correction greatly warranted.
Fares, S., Sethom, M. M., Kacem, S., Khouaja-Mokrani, C., Feki, M., & Kaabachi, N. (2015). Plasma arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acids in Tunisian very low birth weight infants: status and association with selected neonatal morbidities. Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition, 33, 1. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41043-015-0011-3