Effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake on phospholipid fatty acid composition in plasma and erythrocytes

Domenico Prisco, Monica Filippini, Isa Francalanci, Rita Paniccia, Gian Franco Gensini, Rosanna Abbate, Gian Gastone Neri Serneri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To characterize the time course of plasma and red blood cell (RBC) changes after n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplementation, 20 healthy male volunteers were randomly assigned to receive either four 1-g capsules of n-3 PUFA ethyl esters or four 1-g capsules of olive oil (as placebo) for a period of 4 mo, followed by a 3-mo washout period. Fatty acids of plasma and RBC phospholipid fractions were analyzed at 0, 2, and 4 mo of treatment and at 1, 2, and 3 mo of washout. During n-3 PUFA supplementation, accumulations of eicosapentaenoic (EPA), docosapentaenoic (DPA), and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids were marked after 2 mo with differences among different fractions of plasma and RBCs in further accumulation up to 4 mo. During the first and second months of the washout, slight differences were observed in changes of various fatty acids among different phospholipid fractions, but after 3 mo of washout, only minor alterations were still detectable with respect to pretreatment values. These data confirm the complex relations among different fatty acid pools after n-3 PUFA supplementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-932
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1996


  • docosahexaenoic acid
  • eicosapentaenoic acid
  • n-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • plasma
  • red blood cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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