The biological role of fatty acids (FA) in the perinatal period is under active investigation. We here describe the application of a simplified microanalytical procedure to compare the FA profile of maternal, umbilical cord and infant whole blood, inclusive of all circulating lipid fractions and cells.

The FA composition has been analyzed with a micromethod in 16 triplets, including maternal blood, cord blood at delivery and infant blood at day 4, respectively.

As expected, the FA composition of blood samples withdrawn from the umbilical cord is more similar to the FA composition of blood from 4-day old infants than the FA pattern of maternal blood at delivery. Nevertheless, infant blood FA profile differed from cord for lower long-chain polyunsaturated FA and higher monounsaturated FA.

Our explorative data using whole blood microanalysis confirm the progressive increase of long-chain polyunsaturated FA levels from the mothers towards cord and then infant blood.