Cheek cell phospholipids in human infants: A marker of docosahexaenoic and arachidonic acids in the diet, plasma, and red blood cells

Sonja L. Connor, Ning Zhu, Gregory J. Anderson, Douglas Hamill, Elaine Jaffe, Judy Carlson, William E. Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Assessment of essential fatty acid status requires collection of blood or adipose tissue samples. However, these invasive techniques cannot always be used in studies involving infants, young children, or subjects from whom it is difficult to obtain blood. A body tissue that is easy to access is the buccal mucosa (cheek cells). Objective: The objective was to investigate the degree to which fatty acids of cheek cells reflect the fatty acid content of plasma, red blood cells, and the diet. Design: Thirty-one infants aged 12 mo were enrolled. Five infants were fed human milk and 26 infants received formulas that provided a wide range of arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intakes. Cheek cells were collected on a small piece of gauze by gently swabbing the inside of the cheek 3 times. Lipids were extracted from the gauze and the phospholipid fatty acid content of the cheek cells was determined. Results: Cheek cell DHA and arachidonic acid in phospholipids were significantly correlated with DHA and arachidonic acid in plasma [r = 0.61 (P < 0.001) and r = 0.37 (P <0.05), respectively], red blood cells [r = 0.58 (P < 0.001) and r = 0.37 (P < 0.05), respectively], and the diet [r = 0.65 (P < 0.001) and r = 0.51 (P < 0.01), respectively]. Conclusions: Given these correlations and the ease and noninvasive nature of this technique, cheek cell fatty acids may serve as a marker of the essential fatty acid content, especially of DHA and arachidonic acid, in plasma, red blood cells, and the diet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume71
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2000

Keywords

  • Arachidonic acid
  • Buccal mucosa
  • Cheek cells
  • Diet
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Fatty acids
  • Infants
  • Plasma
  • Red blood cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Cheek cell phospholipids in human infants: A marker of docosahexaenoic and arachidonic acids in the diet, plasma, and red blood cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this