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Nutritional formulae for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic (AA) deficiency control in extreme premature infants

20th national competition for scientific and technical research

Food security and biotechnology

Senior Researcher : Miguel Sáenz de Pipaón Marcos

Research Centre or Institution : Fundación para la Investigación Biomédica. Hospital Universitario La Paz. Madrid.


Arachidonic (AA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids are critical for infant's health. During gestation there is a selective placental transfer that increases their concentration in the fetal circulation. Preterm infants have lower levels of DHA at birth compared to full-term infants. These fatty acids decrease in preterm infants in the first weeks and their decreased is associated with bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Exclusive DHA supplementation has not provided benefits. The digestion and absorption capacity in this population is diminished.   

Objective: Development and clinical validation, including the study of the molecular mechanisms involved and genetic variants, of highly bioavailable nutritional formulas for the control of AA and DHA deficiency in extremely premature babies. Despite multiple public and private efforts, an effective solution for AA and DHA supplementation has not yet been achieved due to the lack of integration of the actors involved. The project aims to achieve this integration to save the lives of many infants.

Methodology: Preparation of formulas that improve the bioavailability of AA and DHA, test the bioavailability of different formulations in an in vitro digestion model adapted to premature newborns, and physicochemical characterization and study of the oxidation stability of the developed formulas. Conducting double-blind randomized controlled trials evaluating the effect of AA and DHA supplementation at the fetal acquisition dose on the prevention of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, growth, miRNA variability, and changes in the microbiome in preterm infants. Genotyping of 64 SNPs related to the synthesis of AA and DHA and, therefore, involved in the response to supplementation, and analysis of the molecular and biological effects of AA and DHA supplementation on cellular metabolism.


Producción Científica
Artículos generados en Revistas 1
Comunicaciones en Congresos Nacionales -
Comunicaciones en Congresos Internacionales -


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