Intralipid increases lung polyunsaturated fatty acids and protects newborn rats from oxygen toxicity

R. Ilene, S. Sosenko, Sheila M. Innis, Lee Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Intralipid, derived from soybean oil and containing a high percentage of n-6 family polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and also linolenic acid, an n-3 family PUFA, is commonly the first fat source provided to very low birth weight premature infants. Following up on our previous reports that newborn rats born to dams fed high-PUFA diets demonstrate superior tolerance to hyperoxia, we examined whether the high-PUFA fat source Intralipid might also protect against oxygen toxicity. Adult female rats were fed either regular Rat Chow or fat-free diet containing 20%-Intralipid as the fat source for 3 wk before and then throughout pregnancy and lactation. One- and 5- d-old offspring of Intralipid diet-fed dams demonstrated significant increases in lung lipid n-6 family PUFA plus elevated linolenic acid compared with regular diet-fed offspring. These characteristic fatty acid patterns, apparent in total lung lipids, were even more pronounced in the triglyceride fraction compared with the phospholipid fraction. Associated with these fatty acid changes were significantly improved hyperoxic survival rates (89 out of 95 = 94% survival after 7 d of >95% O2 exposure) in Intralipid offspring (versus 89 out of 106 = 84%, p < 0.05 in regular diet offspring) and evidence of superior clinical/pathologic status. No differences in pulmonary antioxidant enzyme or surfactant system development, response of antioxidant enzymes to hyperoxic exposure, or lung prostaglandin E2, 6-keto PGF1-α or leukotrienes C4-F4 were present. These findings continue to support the hypothesis that increasing lung PUFA content may provide increased O2 free radical scavenging capacity, thus protecting against hyperoxic lung damage. The results also suggest a role for Intralipid administration in protecting the lungs of high oxygen-exposed very low birth weight premature infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-417
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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