, Volume 34, Issue 1 Supplement, pp S347-S350

Dietary 18:3n-3 and 22:6n-3 as sources of 22:6n-3 accretion in neonatal baboon brain and associated organs

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The bioequivalence of dietary linolenic acid (LNA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for brain DHA accretion was measured in neonatal baboons at 4–6 wk of age using stable isotope tracers. Neonates consumed a conventional U.S. term-infant formula devoid of long chain polyunsaturates and with an n-6/n-3 ratio of about 10:1. At 4 wk of age, neonates were dosed with either13C LNA or13C DHA. At 6 wk of age, neonate brain, retina, and other organs were harvested for fatty acid and isotopic analyses. The relative accretion of labeled DHA was 7-fold greater as a percentage of dose for the DHA-dosed animals compared to the LNA-dosed animals. The baboon is an omnivore that regularly consumes meat and insects; its plasma lipid profile responds similarly to humans in response to changes in feeding and living habits. These observations suggest that the baboon is a suitable model for human unsaturated fatty acid studies.