Fatty acid composition of plasma, blood cells and whole blood: relevance for the assessment of the fatty acid status in humans

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2007 Jun;76(6):363-9. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2007.05.003. Epub 2007 Jun 25.


The composition and incorporation of fatty acids (FA) in plasma and blood cells is the result of distinct processes: intake, metabolism and peripheral utilization.

Aim of the study: was to compare the FA profile in plasma, lipoproteins and blood cells with that in whole blood (WB) from healthy volunteers; to assess the quantitative distribution of selected FA in triacylglycerols, cholesteryl esters and phospholipids. Lipid FA profiles are comparable in plasma and lipoproteins but differ from those in blood cells. In WB, the FA profile results from the balanced proportion of FA pools in plasma and cells. The contribution of each lipid class to the total amount of FA differs among blood specimens. Phospholipids of plasma and red blood cell are the major contributors to the FA amount and profile in WB. In conclusion, the FA profile of WB reflects the FA status and WB could be an adequate specimen for the assessment of FA intakes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Cells / chemistry*
  • Cholesterol Esters / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins / chemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Triglycerides / chemistry


  • Cholesterol Esters
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipoproteins
  • Triglycerides