, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 63–71 | Cite as

The Spectrum of Plant and Animal Sterols in Different Oil-Derived Intravenous Emulsions

  • Maria Luisa Forchielli
  • Germana Bersani
  • Sara Tala
  • Gabriele Grossi
  • Cristina Puggioli
  • Massimo Masi
Original Article


Intravenous lipid constituents have different effects on various biological processes. Some of these effects are protective, while others are potentially adverse. Phytosterols, in particular, seem to be implicated with parenteral nutrition-associated cholestasis. The aim of this study is to determine the amount of plant and animal sterols present in lipid formulations derived from different oil sources. To this end, animal (cholesterol) and plant (β-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol) sterols in seven different commercially available intravenous lipid emulsions (ILEs) were quantified by capillary gas chromatography after performing a lipid extraction procedure. The two major constituents of the lipid emulsions were cholesterol (range 14–57% of total lipids) and β-sitosterol (range 24–55%), followed by campesterol (range 8–18%) and stigmasterol (range 5–16%). The fish oil-derived formulation was an exception, as it contained only cholesterol. The mean values of the different sterols were statistically different across ILEs (P = 0.0000). A large percentage of pairwise comparisons were also statistically significant (P = 0.000), most notably for cholesterol and stigmasterol (14 out of 21 for both), followed by campesterol (12 out 21) and β-sitosterol (11 out 21). In conclusion, most ILEs combined significant amounts of phytosterols and cholesterol. However, their phytosterols:cholesterol ratios were reversed compared to the normal human diet.


Phytosterols Cholesterol Intravenous lipid emulsions Cholestasis Gas chromatography 



Intravenous lipid emulsions


Total parenteral nutrition


Parenteral nutrition-associated cholestasis


Long-chain triglycerides


Medium-chain triglycerides


Gas chromatography


Capillary gas chromatography



We are particularly grateful to Dr. Maria Rodriguez Estrada and Mr Stefano Savioli at the Food Science Department directed by Prof. Lerker, University of Bologna, for their expertise and technical assistance offered for accurate laboratory determinations.


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Copyright information

© AOCS 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Luisa Forchielli
    • 1
  • Germana Bersani
    • 2
  • Sara Tala
    • 3
  • Gabriele Grossi
    • 3
  • Cristina Puggioli
    • 2
  • Massimo Masi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, S Orsola-MalpighiMedical School of BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacy, S Orsola-MalpighiMedical School of BolognaBolognaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Biochemistry, S Orsola-MalpighiMedical School of BolognaBolognaItaly

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