Structured Triglyceride Emulsions in Parenteral Nutrition

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Over the past 3 decades, various concepts for IV fat emulsions (IVFE) have been developed. A randomized, structured-lipid emulsion based on an old technology has recently become available. This structured-lipid emulsion is produced by mixing medium-chain triglycerides and long-chain triglycerides, then allowing hydrolysis to form free fatty acids, followed by random transesterification of the fatty acids into mixed triglyceride molecules. Studies in animals have shown an improvement in nitrogen balance with the use of these lipid emulsions. Only 8 human clinical studies with these products have been performed. The results of these human clinical studies have been less promising than the animal studies; however, an improvement in nitrogen balance and lipid metabolism exceeds results associated with infusion of long-chain triglycerides (LCT) or a physical mixture of long-chain triglycerides and medium-chain triglycerides (LCT-MCT). Structured-lipid emulsion seems to induce less elevation in serum liver function values compared with standard IVFEs. In addition, structured-lipid emulsions have no detrimental effect on the reticuloendothelial system. Further studies are necessary in order to recommend the use of structured-lipid emulsions. The clinical community hopes that chemically defined structured triglycerides will make it possible to determine the distribution of specific fatty acids on a specific position on the glycerol core and therefore obtain specific activity for a specific clinical situation.

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