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October 2021

Lipids. 1997 Jun; 32(6): 645-51.

Noninvasive characterization of neonatal adipose tissue by 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Thomas EL, Hanrahan JD, Ala-Korpela M, Jenkinson G, Azzopardi D, Iles RA, Bell JD.

Robert Steiner MRI Unit, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London, United Kingdom. [email protected]

In vivo 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) was applied noninvasively to analyze the fatty acid composition of adipose tissue in 21 full-term newborn infants and 6 mothers. In order to assess the effects of gestational and postnatal age on adipose tissue composition, we studied preterm infants at birth, term infants at the ages of 6 wk and at 6 mon. We also investigated the influence of maternal diet on infant adipose tissue composition by studying the breast-fed infants of women who maintained either an omnivore or a vegan diet. Significant differences were observed in adipose tissue composition of neonates compared with their mothers. Neonates had more saturated and less unsaturated fatty acids than their mothers (P < 0.01). We also observed changes in adipose tissue composition with maturity. From birth to 6 wk of age 13C MR spectra showed a significant increase in the amount of unsaturated fatty acids, particularly polyunsaturated fatty acids (P < 0.01). Similarly, differences were seen as a result of gestational age. Preterm infants had relatively fewer unsaturated fatty acids than full-term infants. A greater proportion of these unsaturated fatty acids were polyunsaturated. Our results demonstrate that 13C MRS can be utilized to assess noninvasively neonatal adipose tissue lipid composition and to monitor the effects of developmental changes due to gestational age and oral feeding.


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