Lymphatic transport of docosahexaenoic (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA) acids given in the forms of triglyceride, ethyl ester or free acid and their effect on cholesterol transport was compared in lymphcannulated rats. Lymphatic recovery of DHA and EPA given by stomach tube in the form of triglyceride in which they were mainly located at the 2-position was significantly higher than that of the ethyl ester or free acid during the first 6 hr after the administration and the tendency continued until 9 hr. In contrast, the 9 to 24 hr recovery of DHA and EPA in the forms of ethyl ester and free acid was considerably higher than that of triglyceride. Consequently, cumulative 24 hr recovery EPA was comparable among the three forms. However, the 24 hr recovery of DHA was highest in free acid, lowest in ethyl ester and intermediate in triglyceride. Recovery of the free acid between 9 and 24 hr after administration was significantly higher than that given in the forms of triglyceride or ethyl ester. Cholesterol recovery in lymph of rats given with ethyl ester or free acid was lower than that given with triglyceride at an early stage after the administration in both EPA and DHA. Cumulative 24 hr recovery of cholesterol in rats given these fatty acids as ethyl ester was significantly lower than in those given as the other two forms.
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