European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 659–665 | Cite as

Increased linoleic acid/α-linolenic acid ratio in Swedish cord blood samples collected between 1985 and 2005

  • Kristina WarstedtEmail author
  • Karel Duchén
Original Contribution



Cord serum (CS) phospholipid fatty acid composition is associated with maternal diet during foetal life, and maternal intake of linoleic acid (LA, C18:2ω-6) and α-linolenic acid (LNA, C18:3 ω-3) has been shown to influence the LA and LNA levels in CS. A possible connection between the increased incidence of atopic diseases and increased intake of LA and decreased intake of LNA in the Western world has been proposed.


The aim of this study was to explore phospholipid fatty acid proportions and total IgE levels in CS from Swedish children, collected from 1985 to 2005, a period with increasing frequency of allergic diseases in Sweden, and reveal possible changes over time.


Phospholipid fatty acids and total IgE antibodies were analysed with gas chromatography and UniCAP® technology, respectively, in 300 CS samples.


The proportions of LA and LNA decreased significantly from 1985 to 2005 (p < 0.001 for both). However, the LA/LNA ratio did increase (p < 0.001), revealing a relatively larger decrease in LNA than in LA. No correlations were found between ω-6 and ω-3 fatty acids and total IgE antibodies in CS from newborn children.


The LA/LNA ratio increased (p < 0.001) in cord serum samples collected between 1985 and 2005, and no correlations between fatty acids and total IgE were found.


Cord blood Fatty acids Immunoglobulin E 



The authors wish to thank the midwives at the maternity ward at the University Hospital in Linköping for endless patience with collecting the cord blood samples. Professor Birgitta Strandvik and Mrs. Berit Holmberg, Department of Pediatrics, Institute of the Health of Women and Children, Göteborg University, Göteborg, are acknowledged for kindly providing the PUFA phospholipids analysis technique. We also wish to thank Dr. Olle Eriksson and Dr. Anneli Sepa for statistical guidance and Dr. Jenny Walldén for laboratory support. The study was financially supported by the Swedish Nutrition Foundation (SNF).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pediatrics, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health SciencesLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  2. 2.Clinical and Experimental Research/Pediatrics, Faculty of Health ScienceLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsLinköping University Hospital, The County Council in ÖstergötlandLinköpingSweden

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