Women with low n-3 (omega-3) status in pregnancy can reduce their risk of early preterm birth (<34 weeks’ gestation) through n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) supplementation. As investigators measure fatty acid status in different blood fractions, equations are needed to compare results across studies. Similarly, derived cut-points for defining low and replete n-3 status are needed to assist clinical interpretation during early pregnancy. Our aims were to develop equations to convert the percentage of total n-3 fatty acids, EPA+DHA and DHA between whole blood, plasma and red blood cells (RBC), and to derive cut-points for defining low and replete total n-3 fatty acid status in plasma and RBC from those already established in whole blood. Using blood samples from 457 pregnant women in a multicentre randomised controlled trial, equations for these interconversions were developed using simple linear regression models. Measures of n-3 fatty acid status in whole blood and plasma were strongly related (R2 > 0.85), while more moderate relationships were observed between measures in whole blood and RBC (R2 0.55 – 0.71), or plasma and RBC (R2 0.55 – 0.63). Using the conversion equations, established cut-points for low and replete n-3 status in whole blood (<4.2% and >4.9% of total fatty acids) converted to <3.7% and >4.3% of plasma total fatty acids, and to <7.3% and >8.1% of RBC total fatty acids. Agreement to define low and replete n-3 status was better between whole blood and plasma, rather than between whole blood and RBC. Our data also show that total n-3 fatty acids in plasma and serum are interchangeable. We conclude that either whole blood or plasma total n-3 fatty acids can be used to define low status in pregnancy and identify women who will most benefit from n-3 LCPUFA supplementation to reduce their risk of early birth. Further research is needed to determine the clinical utility of other fatty acid measures in various blood lipid fractions.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2022|
- Blood fraction conversions
- Docosahexaenoic acid
- Early preterm birth
- Total n-3 fatty acids