Research Study Abstract

New generation lipid emulsions increase brain DHA and improve body composition, but not short-term neurodevelopment in parenterally-fed preterm piglets

  • Published on April 24, 2019

New generation, multicomponent parenteral lipid emulsions provide key fatty acids for brain growth and development, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA), yet the content may be suboptimal for preterm infants. Our aim was to test whether DHA and AA-enriched lipid emulsions would increase activity, growth, and neurodevelopment in preterm piglets and limit brain inflammation. Cesarean-delivered preterm pigs were given three weeks of either enteral preterm infant formula (ENT) or TPN with one of three parenteral lipid emulsions: Intralipid (IL), SMOFlipid (SMOF) or an experimental emulsion (EXP). Activity was continuously monitored and weekly blood sampling and behavioral field testing performed. At termination of the study, whole body and tissue metrics were collected. Neuronal density was assessed in sections of hippocampus (HC), thalamus, and cortex. Frontal cortex (FC) and HC tissue were assayed for fatty acid profiles and expression of genes of neuronal growth and inflammation. After 3 weeks of treatment, brain DHA content in SMOF, EXP and ENT pigs was higher (P < 0.01) in FC but not HC vs. IL pigs. There were no differences in brain weight or neuron density among treatment groups. Inflammatory cytokine TNFα and IL-1β expression in brain regions were increased in IL pigs (P < 0.05) compared to other groups. Overall growth velocity was similar among groups, but IL pigs had higher percent body fat and increased insulin resistance compared to other treatments (P < 0.05). ENT pigs spent more time in higher physical activity levels compared to all TPN groups, but there were no differences in exploratory behavior among groups. We conclude that a soybean oil emulsion increased select brain inflammatory cytokines and multicomponent lipid emulsions enriched with DHA and AA in parenteral lipids results in increased cortical DHA and improved body composition without affecting short term neurodevelopmental outcomes.


  • Tiffany L. Molina 1
  • Barbara Stoll 2
  • Mahmoud Mohammad 2
  • Carrie A. Mohila 3
  • Lee Call 2
  • Liwei Cui 2
  • Gregory Guthrie 2
  • Dennis Kunichoff 2
  • Sen Lin 4
  • Rebecca Welch-Jernigan 5
  • Jon Nielsen 6
  • Muralidhar Premkumar 1
  • Jason Robinson 2
  • Victoria Smith 7
  • Haley Teets 7
  • Karina Obelitz-Ryom 8
  • Joseph Hagan 1
  • Stephanie Cruz 9
  • Patricio Lau 9
  • Maurice Puyau 2
  • Roman Shypailo 2
  • Rodrigo Manjarin 7
  • Nancy Butte 2
  • Zhengfeng Fang 4
  • Oluyinka Olutoye 9
  • Thomas Thymann 8
  • Per Sangild 8
  • Douglas Burrin 2


  • 1

    Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Neonatology, 6621 Fannin St. MS W6104, Houston, TX 77030, United States

  • 2

    SDA-ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, 1100 Bates St., Houston, TX 77030, United States

  • 3

    Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Pathology & Immunology, Texas Children's Hospital, Department of Pathology, 6621 Fannin St. Suite AB1195, Houston, TX 77030, United States

  • 4

    Institute of Animal Nutrition, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu, Sichuan 611130, People’s Republic of China

  • 5

    Center for Comparative Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, United States

  • 6

    Dept of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark

  • 7

    Department of Animal Science, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA, United States

  • 8

    Comparative Pediatrics and Nutrition, University of Copenhagen, 68 Dyrlægevej, DK-1870 Frederiskberg C., Copenhagen, Denmark

  • 9

    Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Pediatric Surgery, 6701 Fannin St., Houston, TX 77030, United States


Brain, Behavior and Immunity