Fatty acid requirements for the preterm infant

Daniel T. Robinson, Camilia R. Martin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Fatty acids are critical nutrient regulators of intracellular signaling and influence key pathways including inflammatory responses, hemostasis as well as central nervous system development and function. Preterm birth interrupts the maternal–fetal transfer of essential fatty acids including docosahexaenoic and arachidonic acids, which occurs during the third trimester. Postnatal deficits of these nutrients accrue in preterm infants during the first week and they remain throughout the first months. Due to the regulatory roles of these fatty acids, such deficits contribute an increased risk of developing prematurity-related morbidities including impaired growth and neurodevelopment. The fatty acid contents of parenteral and enteral nutrition are insufficient to meet current recommendations. This chapter summarizes the regulatory roles of fatty acids, current recommendations and limitations of parenteral and enteral nutrition in meeting these recommendations in preterm infants. Suggested areas for research on the roles of fatty acids in preterm infant health are also provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-14
Number of pages7
JournalSeminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Alpha-linolenic acid
  • Arachidonic acid
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Essential fatty acid
  • Linoleic acid
  • Lipid emulsion
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Fatty acid requirements for the preterm infant'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this