Skip to Main Content
Colleen Boyd

Dietary Lipid Effects on Feline Red Cell Membrane Phospholipid Composition

Colleen P. Boyd, Karen E. Bigley, John E. Bauer

Companion Animal Nutrition Research Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

Colleen Boyd

Objective – To determine the extent to which dietary lipids affect the amount of sphingomyelin and lecithin content in red blood cell membranes in feline species.

Animals or Sample Population – Twenty-nine, intact, female felines were divided into three groups and fed one of three diets: low linoleic acid (LL), high linoleic acid (HL), high gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).  The diets were complete and balanced and only contained varying types of dietary fatty acids.

Procedure – Fasted blood samples were collected via saphenous vein into tubes containing EDTA on day 56 of feeding.  RBC membranes were prepared by high speed centrifugation (100,000 x g), total lipids were extracted and protein concentrations were determined.  Phospholipid composition of the outer membrane leaflet was analyzed by high performance thin-layer chromatography and densitometry.  Standard curves were created for sphingomyelin and lecithin and linear regression equations were used to determine the concentration of these phospholipids in each feline sample.  Red blood cell membrane protein content enabled sphingomyelin and lecithin concentrations to be expressed as normalized for dietary protein.  In addition, their ratio to one another was calculated.

Results – Diet was determined to have no effect on the content of sphingomyelin and lecithin in the red blood cell membranes nor was membrane protein content altered by diet.  The ratio of sphingomyelin to lecithin was not significantly different between diets.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance – Based on the results of this study, dietary fatty acid type does not produce a significant effect on the RBC membrane phospholipid composition or protein content in felines.  Nonetheless, the overall mean values obtained can serve as baseline values for healthy felines, as reference values, can be compared to different species, and used to help characterize disorders affecting red blood cell shape due to membrane alterations.