Body size related adaptations of the avian myocardial phospholipid fatty acyl chain composition

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The myocardial phospholipid fatty acid (FA) composition (mol %) of 7 avian species was determined, in a body mass range from 150 g (Japanese quail, Coturnix coturnix japonica) to 19 kg (turkey, Meleagris gallopavo). Significant allometric increases were found for C16:1 n7 (allometric exponent: B = 0.15), C18:1 n7 (B = 0.08), C18:1 n9 (B = 0.24), C20:1 n9 (B = 0.22) and C20:3 n3 (B = 0.12); moreover, total monounsaturates (B = 0.20) and the sum of n9 FAs (B = 0.24) was also positively related to body mass. The total n3 FAs (B = - 0.36), and within them C22:5 n3 (B = - 0.41) and C22:6 n3 (B = - 0.60) showed allometric declines, such as total polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA; B = - 0.01), unsaturation index (B = - 0.03) and mean FA chain length (B = - 0.003). Comparing our results with earlier published data on avian skeletal muscle and divergent mammalian tissues, the allometric scaling of the above membrane forming fatty acids seems to be part of a general relationship postulated as the theory "membranes as metabolic pacemakers". In addition, the cardiac muscle malondialdehyde concentration was negatively related to body mass (B = - 0.16), referring to a lower level of lipid peroxidation in larger birds, and vice versa, indicating a progressive myocardial lipid peroxidation in smaller-bodied species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-502
Number of pages7
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - B Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2006


  • Allometry
  • Birds
  • Body size
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Fatty acid
  • Heart
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Phospholipid
  • Unsaturation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology

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