The transfer of radiolabelled n-6 essential fatty acids by the mammary system of the tree-shrew (Tupia tana)

Comp Biochem Physiol B. 1987;86(3):575-80. doi: 10.1016/0305-0491(87)90451-2.


The fatty acid content of tree-shrew milk has been determined from analysis of the stomach content of infants immediately after suckling. Comparison of the n-6 fatty acid composition of the stomach contents, liver and brain demonstrate a striking increment in the ratio of arachidonic to linoleic acid. Feeding radioactively labelled linoleic acid to the mother 24 hr prior to suckling showed that 12-20% was transferred to the milk. Evidence from the appearance of the radioactivity administered as linoleic acid into arachidonic acid indicates that this species is able to desaturate linoleic acid.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Fatty Acids, Essential / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Contents
  • Liver / analysis
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / metabolism*
  • Milk / analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Tupaia / metabolism*
  • Tupaiidae / metabolism*


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Essential