Serum phospholipid fraction of polyunsaturated fatty acids is the preferred indicator for nutrition and health status in hemodialysis patients

J Nutr Biochem. 2016 Dec;38:18-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2016.07.021. Epub 2016 Aug 26.


Long chain (LC) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are major components of cell membrane phospholipids (PL) and serve as precursors for numerous bioactive lipid derivatives. Fatty acids (FA) are routinely analyzed in biological samples to assess composition of tissues, cells, and lipid fractions. In human studies, serum or plasma is often used because of their easy procurement. However, the lipid pool in serum and plasma is a mixture of triacylglycerol (TG), PL, cholesterol and its esters, and other components. Herein, we report findings from a serum FA analysis after fractionation of polar and neutral lipids by solid phase extraction in a large cohort of 400 hemodialysis patients. LC PUFA were found concentrated in the polar fraction compared to the total or the neutral lipid fraction. When correlated with clinical markers of disease, a greater number of significant correlations were found for PUFA in polar compared to total or the neutral fraction. We also observed that polar lipids are a reliable reflection of LC PUFA status compared to the total or neutral fractions because the latter are diluted by non-essential FA. The relative amounts of LC PUFA in the total and neutral fractions reflect the contribution of TG in blood that varies with diet, age, and physiologic state. Our data indicate that LC PUFA in the polar fraction are superior indicators of bioactive FA-status than in the total or the neutral fraction and should be used to establish important links between PUFA status, their bioactive substrates in hemodialysis patients.

Keywords: Fatty Acids; Hemodialysis; Human; Lipids; PUFA; Phospholipids; Serum.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / blood*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Phospholipids / blood*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / blood
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / complications
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Solid Phase Extraction
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Phospholipids