Dietary PUFA Preferably Modify Ethanolamine-Containing Glycerophospholipids of the Human Plasma Lipidome

Nutrients. 2022 Jul 26;14(15):3055. doi: 10.3390/nu14153055.


The content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in complex lipids essentially influences their physicochemical properties and has been linked to health and disease. To investigate the incorporation of dietary PUFA in the human plasma lipidome, we quantified glycerophospholipids (GPL), sphingolipids, and sterols using electrospray ionization coupled to tandem mass spectrometry of plasma samples obtained from a dietary intervention study. Healthy individuals received foods supplemented with different vegetable oils rich in PUFA. These included sunflower, linseed, echium, and microalgae oil as sources of linoleic acid (LA; FA 18:2 n-6), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA; FA 18:3 n-3), stearidonic acid (SDA; FA 18:4 n-3), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; FA 22:6 n-3). While LA and ALA did not influence the species profiles of GPL, sphingolipid, and cholesteryl ester drastically, SDA and DHA were integrated primarily in ethanolamine-containing GPL. This significantly altered phosphatidylethanolamine and plasmalogen species composition, especially those with 38-40 carbons and 6 double bonds. We speculate that diets enriched with highly unsaturated FA more efficiently alter plasma GPL acyl chain composition than those containing primarily di- and tri-unsaturated FA, most likely because of their more pronounced deviation of FA composition from typical western diets.

Keywords: PUFA; lipidomics; phosphatidylethanolamine; plasma; plasmalogen; vegetable oil.

MeSH terms

  • Diet
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / metabolism
  • Ethanolamines
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3* / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Linoleic Acid
  • Lipidomics*
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines
  • Plant Oils / chemistry


  • Ethanolamines
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines
  • Plant Oils
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Linoleic Acid