Bruder, E D, and Raff, H, Cardiac and Plasma Lipid Profiles in Response to Acute Hypoxia in Neonatal and Young Adult Rats. Lipids in Health and Disease, 2010. 9(3):


The physiological and biochemical responses to acute hypoxia have not been fully characterized in neonates. Fatty acids and lipids play an important role in most aspects of cardiac function.

We performed comprehensive lipid profiling analysis to survey the changes that occur in heart tissue and plasma of neonatal and young adult rats exposed to hypoxia for 2 h, and following 2 h of recovery from hypoxia.

Cardiac and plasma concentrations of short-chain acylcarnitines, and most plasma long-chain fatty acids, were decreased in hypoxic neonates. Following recovery from hypoxia, concentrations of propionylcarnitine, palmitoylcarnitine, stearoylcarnitine were increased in neonatal hearts, while oleylcarnitine and linoleylcarnitine concentrations were increased in neonatal plasma. The concentrations of long-chain fatty acids and long-chain acylcarnitines were increased in the hearts and plasma of hypoxic young adult rats; these metabolites returned to baseline values following recovery from hypoxia.

There are differential effects of acute hypoxia on cardiac and plasma lipid profiles with maturation from the neonate to the young adult rat. Changes to neonatal cardiac and plasma lipid profiles during hypoxia likely allowed for greater metabolic and physiologic flexibility and increased chances for survival. Persistent alterations in the neonatal cardiac lipid profile following recovery from hypoxia may play a role in the development of rhythm disturbances.

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