Ingestion of plasmalogen markedly increased plasmalogen levels of blood plasma in rats
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Plasmalogens, a subclass of phospholipids, are widely distributed in human and animals, and are taken into the body as food. However, no data exist on the intestinal absorption or fate of ingested plasmalogen. Here, we determined whether dietary plasmalogen is absorbed and whether blood and tissue concentrations increased in normal male Wistar rats by using four separate experiments. Phospholipids containing more than 20 wt% of plasmalogen extracted from the bovine brain were incorporated into test diets (10–15 wt%). In experiment 1, we estimated the absorption rate by measuring the plasmalogen vinyl ether bonds remaining in the alimentary tract of rats after the ingestion of 2 g of test diet containing 91 μmol plasmalogen. The absorption rate of plasmalogen was nearly 80 mol% after 4 h, comparable to the total phospholipid content in the test diet. In experiment 2, we observed no degradation of the plasmalogen vinyl ether bonds under in vitro conditions simulating those of the stomach and small intestinal lumen. In experiment 3 we confirmed a comparable absorption (36 mol%) by using a closed loop of the upper small intestine in anesthetized rats 90 min after injecting a 10 wt% brain phospholipid emulsion. Feeding a test diet containing 10 wt% brain phospholipids for 7 d increased plasmalogen concentration threefold in blood plasma and by 25% in the liver; however, no increases were seen in blood cells, skeletal muscle, brain, lungs, kidneys, or adipose tissue (experiment 4). We concluded that dietary plasmalogen is absorbed from the intestine and contributes to a large increase in plasmalogen levels in blood plasma.
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