The fatty acid composition of plasma phospholipids reflects the dietary fatty acid intake as well as endogenous turnover. We aimed at investigating the potential tracking of plasma phospholipid fatty acid composition in children that participated in a prospective cohort study.
26 healthy children participated in a longitudinal study on health risks and had been enrolled after birth. All children were born at term with birth weights appropriate for gestational age. Follow-up took place at ages 24, 36 and 60 months. At each time point a 24-hour dietary recall was obtained, anthropometric parameters were measured and a blood sample for phospholipid fatty acid analysis was taken.
Dietary intake of saturated (SFA), monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA) fatty acids at the three time points were not correlated. We found lower values for plasma MUFA and the MUFA/SFA ratio at 60 months compared to 24 months. In contrast, total PUFA, total n-6 and n-6 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) were higher at 60 months. Significant averaged correlation coefficients (average of Pearson's R for 24 versus 36 months and 36 versus 60 months) were found for n-6 LC-PUFA (r = 0.67), n-6/n-3 LC-PUFA ratio (r = 0.59) and arachidonic acid/linoleic acid ratio (r = 0.64). Partial tracking was found for the docosahexaenoic acid/alpha-linolenic acid ratio (r = 0.33). Body mass index and sum of skinfolds Z-scores were similar in the three evaluations.
A significant tracking of n-6 LC-PUFA, n-6 LC-PUFA/n-3 LC-PUFA ratio, arachidonic acid/linoleic acid ratio and docosahexaenoic acid/alpha-linolenic acid ratio may reflect an influence of individual endogenous fatty acid metabolism on plasma concentrations of some, but not all, fatty acids.