Brain lipid composition in rabbits after total parenteral nutrition with two different lipid emulsions

Brain lipid composition in rabbits after total parenteral nutrition with two different lipid emulsions

Nutrition 29 (2013) 313–317 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Nutrition journal homepage: Basic nutritional investiga...

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Nutrition 29 (2013) 313–317

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Nutrition journal homepage:

Basic nutritional investigation

Brain lipid composition in rabbits after total parenteral nutrition with two different lipid emulsions -Botejara M.D., Ph.D. a, Jose  Miguel Mora n-Penco M.D., Ph.D. b, *, Enrique Macia Marıa Teresa Espın-Jaime M.D., Ph.D. c, Francisco Botello-Martınez M.D., Ph.D. c,  s Salas-Martınez M.D., Ph.D. c, Marıa Jesu  s Caballero-Loscos Ph.D. d, Jesu e ndez B.Math., Ph.D. Manuel Molina-Ferna a

Internal Medicine Service, Hospital Perpetuo Socorro, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Badajoz, Badajoz, Spain Surgery Service, Faculty of Medicine, University of Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain c General Surgery Service, Hospital Infanta Cristina, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Badajoz, Badajoz, Spain d Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain e Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Sciences, University of Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain b

a r t i c l e i n f o

a b s t r a c t

Article history: Received 16 April 2012 Accepted 24 July 2012

Objective: To study the changes occurring in brain lipid composition after the administration of total parenteral nutrition (TPN) by comparing two lipid emulsions, one with long-chain triacylglycerols (LCT) and the other with long-chain and medium-chain triacylglycerols (MCT/LCT 50%/50%). Methods: We used 21 young New Zealand rabbits divided into three groups of seven animals each. Two groups were subjected to TPN for 7 d, with each group receiving using one of two different lipid emulsions: Intralipid 20% (group LCT) and Lipofundin MCT/LCT 20% (group MCT/LCT). The third control group received an oral diet and underwent the same surgical procedure with the administration of intravenous saline solution. The energy administered in the TPN formulas was non-protein 100 kcal ∙ kg1 ∙ d1, with 40% corresponding to fats. Results: There were modest increases in plasma cholesterol and triacylglycerols. In the brain tissue, there was a decrease of phosphatidylcholine in animals with TPN, which was greater in group LCT. There were no significant differences in the overall percentage distribution of brain fatty acids among the groups. Conclusion: The lipid emulsions administered in TPN, especially those prepared exclusively with LCT, cause changes in the brain lipid polar fractions of young rabbits. Ó 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Brain lipids Lipid emulsions Total parenteral nutrition

Introduction The brain has a high lipid content, as much as 60% of its dry weight. The fatty acids (FAs) of the brain phospholipids, especially long-chain monounsaturated FAs, are responsible for maintaining the structure of membranes, whereas polyunsaturated FAs control their fluidity [1]. These FAs are subject to continual renewal. In fact, the changes in maternal dietary lipids in pregnancy or lactation cause changes in the FA profile of the brain of the offspring at birth and in early postnatal development [2,3]. Also, the adult brain can be influenced by specific exogenous FA contributions [4]. These changes involve not only the * Corresponding author. Tel./fax: þ34-924-289-471. n-Penco). E-mail address: [email protected] (J. M. Mora 0899-9007/$ - see front matter Ó 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

overall amount of polyunsaturated FAs administered but also the

u-6/u-3 ratio [5]. Thus, dietary fat intake determines the FA composition of the brain and, hence, may influence neurologic function and learning ability, as has been demonstrated in some animals [6–8] and, less often, in humans [9]. Also, brain lipids may be altered in different pathologies [10,11]. The lipid emulsions used in artificial nutrition, as commonly applied in everyday clinical practice, are also a source of exogenous fat. However, there have been few studies on the changes in brain lipid composition after the use of artificial nutrition, except those by Martınez and Ballabriga [12] in newborns and infants  et al. [13] on fat overload in adult rabbits using and Macia Intralipid. Because parenteral nutrition including lipids is common therapeutic practice, its possible effects on brain


-Botejara et al. / Nutrition 29 (2013) 313–317 E. Macia

structure and function need to be better understood. We therefore studied the effects that parenteral nutrition with two types of fat and for a relatively short period might have on brain lipid composition in young rabbits. Materials and methods The animals used were 21 New Zealand rabbits (1700  200 g) housed in individual cages at an ambient temperature of 21  2 C, with an air-renewal rate of 14 changes per hour and light/dark cycles of 14/10 h. The animal handling followed the recommendations of the International Guiding Principles for Biomedical Research Involving Animals. Experimental groups One group (n ¼ 7) received long-chain triacylglycerols (LCTs) and total parenteral nutrition (TPN) for 7 d through a silicone catheter (outer diameter 0.65 cm, inner diameter 0.30 cm; Dow Corning Corporation, Midland, MI, USA) implanted in the internal jugular vein to end in the interscapular zone and connected to the infusion line by a swivel. The lipid source given was Intralipid 20% (Kabi-Pfrimmer, Stockholm, Sweden). Another group (n ¼ 7) received 50% medium-chain triacylglycerols and 50% LCTs and TPN under the same conditions as group LCT, except that the lipid source used was Lipofundin MCT/LCT 20% (Braun Medical SA, Rubi, Barcelona, Spain; group MCT/LCT). The control (n ¼ 7) group underwent the same surgery as groups LCT and MCT/LCT, but a 0.9% NaCl solution instead of TPN was administered through the catheter. The animals were provided food and water ad libitum, with the feed composition being 15% protein, 2.5% fats, 17% cellulose, 12% ash, 14% starch, and 2.45% minerals (BK Universal G.J. S.L., Tarragona, Spain).

Table 1 Composition of Intralipid 20% and Lipofundin MCT/LCT 20%

Soy seed oil (g/100 mL) MCTs (g/100 mL) Egg yolk phospholipids (g/100 mL) Lecithin (g/100 mL) Glycerol (g/100 mL) Phosphorus (mmol/L) Water (mL) Osmolarity (mOsm/L) Energy (kcal/L) Fatty acids (%) Caproic acid (C-6) Caprylic acid (C-8) Capric acid (C-10) Lauric acid (C-12) Myristic acid (C-14) Palmitic acid (C-16) Palmitoleic acid (C-16:1) Stearic acid (C-18) Oleic acid (C-18:1) Linoleic acid (C-18:2 u-6) Linolenic acid (C18:3 u-3) Arachidic acid (C-20) Arachidonic acid (C-20:4 u-6)


Lipofundin MCT/LCT

20 – 1.2 2 2.25 15 100 330 2000

10 10 1.2 1.2 2.5 15 100 380 1908

– – – – 0.07 21.31 0.22 9.64 29.42 32.97 4.21 0.1 0.1

0.076 25.71 20 1.14 – 7.14 – 2.38 13.33 25.71 3.81 – –

LCT, long-chain triacylglycerol; MCT, medium-chain triacylglycerol

Polar lipid analysis Anesthesia The animals were anesthetized with ketamine (Ketolar, Parke-Davis Laboratory, Morris Plains, NJ, USA) 25 mg/kg and phenothiazine (Combelen, Laboratories Bayer, Germany) 1 mg/kg, which were administered intramuscularly. Artificial nutrition formulas The two nutritional formulas administered to groups LCT and MCT/LCT contributed non-protein energy 100 kcal ∙ kg1 ∙ d1, with 60% corresponding to glucose (Glucoibys 40%, Ibys, Madrid, Spain) and 40% to lipids. The lipid source used in group LCT was an emulsion of LCTs (Intralipid 20%, Kabi-Pfrimmer), and that in group MCT/LCT was a 50%/50% emulsion of LCTs and MCTs (Lipofundin MCT/LCT 20%, B. Braun Medical S.A.). The composition of the two lipid emulsions is presented in Table 1. The TPN administered to these two groups also contained amino acids 3 g ∙ kg1 ∙ d1 (Trophamine 6%, Farmiberia S.A., Madrid, Spain) plus standard amounts of electrolytes, trace elements, and vitamins. The final osmolality was 650 mOsm/kg. The infusion rate was 5 mL/kg of weight during the first 24 h and 10 mL/kg of weight during the next 7 d. Biological controls All animals were weighed at the beginning and at the end of the experiment. Daily evaluations were made of the animals’ clinical status, and glycemia was quantified using test strips (Reflolux, Boehringer, Mannheim, Germany). Processing of animals At the end of the seventh day of the artificial nutrition, the animals were anesthetized, and a midline laparotomy was performed. Samples of blood 10 mL were collected by direct puncture of the vena cava. The brain tissue and cerebellum were extracted through a medial craniotomy and stored at 80 C until processing. Laboratory analyses A Hitachi 705 autoanalyzer (Hitachi Ltd, Osaka, Japan) was used to determine the plasma levels of glucose, urea, creatinine, total protein, albumin, cholesterol, triacylglycerols, total and direct bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase, glutamic pyruvic transaminase, gamma glutamil transpeptidase, sodium, potassium, chloride, and lactate dehydrogenase. Brains were homogenized in an OmniMixer apparatus (Omni, Waterbury, CT, USA), and lipids were extracted using the method of Folch et al. [14]. The extract was separated into polar and neutral lipids as described by Bitman et al. [15] using Sep-Pak Silica cartridges (Waters Chromat, Dic Millipire Co., Billerica, MA, USA).

The dry polar lipid extract was re-dissolved in chloroform and analyzed by thin-layer chromatography using as the mobile phase a chloroform–methanol– water–acetic acid (60:30:6:1) mixture for 60 min. The plates were developed using a 10% molybdic acid solution, with oven heating at 120 C for 30 min. The spots were semiquantified by laser densitometry using a Shimadzu DR-13 CS9000 plate reader and integrator (Shimadzu, Kyoto, Japan). Assays were made of phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol, and palmitoyl cerebroside.

FA brain analysis The brain FAs were extracted and methylated according to the technique of Lapage and Roy [16], a method of extraction, methylation, and esterification in one step. The methyl esters extracted were assayed using a Carlo Erba GC 6000 Vega Series gas chromatograph (Carlo Erba Instruments, Milan, Italy) equipped with a 50-m capillary column of polyamide-coated fused silica of 0.22 mm internal diameter (50QC2/BP70, SGE International Pty Ltd, Victoria, Australia) and using heptadecanoic acid (C-17) as the internal standard. The data were autoprocessed in an HP-3394A integrator (Hewlett Packard, Avondale, PA, USA). The chromatographic conditions used were an injector temperature of 250 C, a detector temperature of 260 C, and an oven temperature programmed with an initial isothermal of 195 C for 5 min, followed by a gradient of 3 C/min to 250 C that remained at this temperature for 10 min. Assays were made of myristic, palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic, oleic, vaccenic, linoleic, linolenic, arachidic, icosatrienoic, dihomo-g-linolenic, arachidonic, behenic, docosatetraenoic, docosahexaenoic, nervonic, and cerotic acids.

Statistical analyses The means and standard deviations of all parameters were determined. The non-parametric two-way analysis of variance using the Friedman rank sums was used to compare within-group final and initial values of weight and blood biochemistry parameters. For intergroup comparisons of brain fat among the LCT, MCT/LCT, and control groups, the non-parametric Kruskal–Wallis was used and differences among the groups were calculated with the Dunn approximation [17, 18]. P < 0.05 was set as the criterion for statistically significant differences.

Results The mean weight loss of the groups receiving TPN was not significant compared with that of the control group (Table 2).

-Botejara et al. / Nutrition 29 (2013) 313–317 E. Macia Table 2 Variations in animal weights during the 7-d study


Initial weight

Final weight


1.991  22 1.585  152 1.765  757

1.806  130 1.521  210 1.815  773


LCT, long-chain triacylglycerol; MCT, medium-chain triacylglycerol Values are expressed as arithmetic mean  SD

General plasma biochemistry The glycemia of the animals in all experimental groups showed a high variability (Table 3), with a tendency toward hyperglycemia at the end, especially in group MCT/LCT. There was a decrease in total proteins and albumin in all the experimental groups, but the intergroup differences were not statistically significant. There were no changes in plasma levels of urea, creatinine, sodium, potassium, chloride, lactate dehydrogenase, transaminases, alkaline phosphatase, g-glutamyl-transferase, or total and direct bilirubin. Plasma lipids In the two TPN groups, the moderate increases in cholesterol and triacylglycerols were not statistically significant compared with the control group (Table 3). Brain lipids The greater percentage of fat in relation to brain tissue weight in group MCT/LCT was not statistically significant compared with the LCT and control groups (Table 4). The lipid fraction assays showed a significant decrease in phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylinositol in the TPN experimental groups (groups LCT and MCT/LCT). The decrease was greater in group LCT than in group MCT/LCT. There were also increases in palmitoyl cerebroside in group LCT and in phosphatidylethanolamine in group MCT/LCT (Table 5). As presented in Table 6, the profile of the overall percentage distribution of the total brain FAs was very similar for the three groups. There were no statistically significant differences in the u-3/u-6, C-18:2 u-6/C-20:4 u-6, or C-18:3 u-3/C-22:6 u-3 ratios. Discussion Oral nutrition has been abundantly studied, including longterm studies, in humans and other animals with respect to the influence of the types of dietary fat on lipid metabolism and brain and tissue composition, especially in the early stages of life. TPN, however, has been the subject of very few experimental or clinical studies examining how it affects lipids in the brain. There is a clear need to determine the influence of the types of fat used,


the route of administration, the duration, and the underlying pathology, etc., especially in medium-term TPN and at any age. For this reason, we selected for the present study an experiment of intermediate duration and a model of young animals. The nutritional results for the experimental groups showed a slight final weight loss in the TPN groups (probably owing to fecal mass loss). The calorie/protein ratio and the composition of the mixture seemed adequate. Blood glucose during the course of the experimental period was not well controlled, especially in the TPN groups. The increases in total cholesterol and plasma triacylglycerols were modest and in line with those commonly described after the intravenous administration of these emulsions. The hypertriglyceridemia accompanying TPN appears to be caused by plasma increases secondary to the administration of the lipid particles and by the transfer of triacylglycerols from these particles to endogenous lipoproteins in exchange for cholesteryl ester. The increase in exogenous phospholipids could induce the mobilization of tissue cholesterol deposits to form micelles [19], leading to higher blood cholesterol levels. Nevertheless, although group LCT was administered larger amounts of lecithin than group MCT/LCT, there were no significant differences in plasma levels between the two groups. Therefore, other factors seem to be involved in the phenomenon of hypercholesterolemia associated with TPN [20]. There seemed to be no extra accumulation of lipids in the brain, because we found no intergroup differences in the total amounts of fat retrieved per gram of brain tissue. Studies of different parenteral routes of administration of LCT or MCT have found the plasma and liver FA profiles to reflect the proportions in the mixture infused [21]. It has been shown that an increase or deficit of the oral intake of linoleic or linolenic acid or a change in their proportion (u-6/u-3) may give rise to functional changes in the early stages of brain development [22,23]. One may assume that these variations in FA composition could induce the overproduction of metabolites and cytokines (prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and leukotrienes) or lipid peroxidation in brain tissue [24]. The quantities of essential FAs administered and their relative proportions can cause changes in the synthesis of brain lipid fractions, in particular of membrane phospholipids [3,25]. We found no differences among any of the groups in the percentage distribution of these FAs in the total brain, and there were no differences in the most important FA ratios (u-6/u-3, C18:3 u-3/C22:6 u-3, C18:2 u-6/C20:4 u-6, etc.), although the total LCT amounts, the u-6/u-3 ratios, and the LCT profiles administered to the two TPN groups were clearly different. Indeed, previous work in our department [13] with an intravenous overload of LCT (Intralipid 20%) also found no significant variations in the brain tissue LCT profile, as has been confirmed by other investigators [26]. The greater relative availability of u-6 in group LCT may have induced a higher rate of peroxidation and/or production of cytokines and prostaglandins.

Table 3 Results for glucose and plasma lipids Control (n ¼ 7) Glucose (mg/dL)y Total cholesterol (mg/dL) Triacylglycerols (mg/dL)

LCT (n ¼ 7)

MCT/LCT (n ¼ 7)







137  18 70  25 74  28

146  32 109  49 159  142

162  14 56  22 74  13

200  60 119  35 154  108

133  26* 66  2* 62  15*

221  41 133  66 193  74

LCT, long-chain triacylglycerol; MCT, medium-chain triacylglycerol Values are expressed as arithmetic mean  SD * P < 0.05, initial versus final values. y P < 0.05, comparison between groups was significant for glucose in MCT/LCT versus control group.

-Botejara et al. / Nutrition 29 (2013) 313–317 E. Macia

316 Table 4 Results for brain fat percentage

%wt fat/tissue

Table 6 Percentage distribution of brain fatty acids

Control (n ¼ 7)

LCT (n ¼ 7)

MCT/LCT (n ¼ 7)

7.71  0.99

7.26  1.52

8.15  1.41

LCT, long-chain triacylglycerol; MCT, medium-chain triacylglycerol; %wt fat/ tissue, percentage of lipid weight in relation to total tissue weight Values are expressed as arithmetic mean  SD

Nonetheless, if this had been so, we should have observed increased FAs deriving from C18:3 u-6, which was not the case. Another possibility is that, with the amounts of LCT administered to the two TPN groups, the adult brains of our animals became saturated and, hence, finished by containing similar amounts of each LCT, but that these led to changes in the esterification and synthesis of brain phospholipids and cholesterol, with the consequent functional alterations in cell permeability and neuronal function. Indeed, what we did observe were major variations between groups in the distribution of brain phospholipids, with important decreases in phosphatidylcholine in group LCT. This seems paradoxical because it is this group (the Intralipid group) that received the larger amount of lecithin (almost double that of group MCT/LCT). Other work by our group has shown large changes in brain lipids after an overload with Intralipid by different routes of administration, with influences from the route and the rate of infusion [13]. Based on our present data, we must presume that the different brain phospholipid profiles of groups LCT and MCT/LCT is due mainly to the different LCT composition administered. In premature infants fed with Intralipid, other investigators found changes in the profile of phospholipids and the composition of the LCTs that saturate them [12]. Although we did not analyze the particular FA composition in each phospholipid fraction, the similarity of the results of the FAs in the total brain suggests that differences in lipid composition administered can be compensated in the brain or before reaching the brain, possibly the liver, at least at this age, in these animals, and in these doses, administrated in this short period. This may also occur in the adult brain, although it will be cushioned by a lower metabolic turnover of the LCTs. Although there were no structural repercussions on the brain, we found functional alterations that were more or less readily clinically detectable in our patients nourished with TPN. Indeed, changes in the lipid composition of the adult brain, mediated by the fat ingested or administered, may be related to certain functional or degenerative disorders [11,27]. Phospholipids are a fundamental part of cell membranes and

Table 5 Percentage distribution of brain lipid fractions Control (n ¼ 7) LCT (n ¼ 7) Phosphatidylinositol Phosphatidylserine Phosphatidylcholine Phosphatidylethanolamine Palmitoyl cerebroside

19.19 ND 21.50 52.65 6.64

 3.66  6.11  11.11  2.05

8.72 9.28 3.55 51.28 27.15


MCT/LCT (n ¼ 7)

2.05* 13.05  3.89 1.39* 5.58  3.15 0.78* 13.64  4.35 4.18 61.10  4.72* 3.86* 6.61  3.67*

LCT, long-chain triacylglycerol; MCT, medium-chain triacylglycerol; ND, not detected Values are expressed as arithmetic mean  SD * Significant differences were found for phosphatidylinositol (LCT versus control, P < 0.01), phosphatidylserine (LCT versus control, P < 0.01; MCT/LCT versus control, P < 0.05), phosphatidylcholine (LCT versus control, P < 0.01), phosphatidylethanolamine (LCT versus MCT/LCT and control, P < 0.05), and palmitoyl cerebroside (LCT versus MCT/LCT, P < 0.01; LCT versus control, P < 0.05).

Control (n ¼ 7) C-14 C-16 C-16:1 u-7 C-18 C-18:1 u-9 C-18:1 u-6 C-18:1 u-7 C-18:2 u-6 C-18:3 u-3 C-20:1 C-20:3 C-20:3 u-6 C-20:4 u-6 C-22:0 C-22:4 u-6 C-22:6 u-6 C-24:1 C-26 S/P u-3/u-6 C-18:2 u-6/C-20:4 u-6 C-18:3 u-3/C-22:6 u-3

1.88 22.42 0.38 23.75 19.18 2.36 4.64 2.36 0.45 1.22 9.67 0.50 0.58 0.97 4.97 4.65 1.71 0.67 2.15 0.39 3.53 0.14


0.86 3.05 0.04 1.25 1.43 0.22 0.76 0.22 0.14 0.22 1.80 0.14 0.17 0.57 1.75 1.87 0.72 0.47 0.63 0.12 1.62 0.10

LCT (n ¼ 7) 1.08 20.14 0.57 23.61 20.42 2.51 4.81 2.51 0.6 1.64 9.84 0.56 0.56 1.07 5.45 3.79 1.96 0.86 2.01 0.34 4.50 0.17


0.33 2.45 0.37 0.42 1.80 0.19 0.76 0.19 0.12 0.22 0.36 0.08 0.08 0.58 0.67 1.40 0.86 0.22 0.26 0.13 0.67 0.04

MCT/LCT (n ¼ 7) 1.6 21.36 0.41 24.29 19.45 2.18 4.69 2.18 0.65 1.30 10.4 0.66 0.57 1.13 5.35 3.29 2.01 0.64 1.99 0.28 3.85 0.31


0.21 2.57 0.08 0.63 1.18 0.51 0.82 0.51 0.17 0.19 0.79 0.13 0.05 0.31 0.95 0.60 0.91 0.20 0.52 0.06 0.96 0.30

LCT, long-chain triacylglycerol; MCT, medium-chain triacylglycerol; S/P, saturated/polyunsaturated Values are expressed as arithmetic mean  SD

functionally essential for permeability and diffusion across the membrane. In the central nervous system, this is even more crucial, so we analyzed the possible changes in the phospholipid proportions. Changes in brain lipid composition in the fetus and neonate after TPN administration have been known for years [12], although the precise mechanism is unknown. We do not know if the changes in composition and function are due to phospholipid variations or their saturation with FAs, which in turn would be related to their presence in brain tissue. We studied total FAs and, as other investigators, found no differences in their composition. However, there could be differences in the phospholipids and/or saturation with different types of FAs. Thus, the function of these FAs in the brain would be through the phospholipids and therefore neuronal membrane phenomena. Our results showed a greater variation of phospholipids than of total brain FA content, probably due to a decrease or redistribution of FAs, which is greater in older individuals. Although we do not have much data on FAs and brain phospholipid compositions in different population groups, there are studies showing an effect of dietary fat on superior function. Thus, docosahexaenoic acid brain levels depend on its presence in the diet [28]. These levels could protect against inflammatory phenomena originated by a diet rich in saturated FAs, mainly at young age [29]. Moreover, the protective role of u-3 FAs is related to the inhibition of inflammatory phenomena, especially when the u-3/arachidonic acid ratio is greater; therefore, human subjects receiving those diets could have better cognitive level, regardless of age and education [30]. Monounsaturated FAs have also shown cortical activity improvement in adult mice [31]. Therefore, further studies of each phospholipid and its FA saturation are necessary. Perhaps there is a need to evaluate the impact that such changes could have on cognition and mood in adults fed for shorter or longer times by TPN. It would also be convenient to study the specific esterification of each phospholipid by the different Fas, depending on the type of fat used, to confirm the change induced by the different emulsions used on the brain’s polar lipids.

-Botejara et al. / Nutrition 29 (2013) 313–317 E. Macia

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