Medium-Chain Triglyceride-Based Fat Emulsions: An Alternative Energy Supply in Stress and Sepsis
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTS) and medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) have special physicochemical properties such as small molecular weight, small interfacial tension against water, and for the fatty acids, solubility in biological fluids.
As a result the metabolic pathways followed by these fats in an organism are different and simpler, or identical but more rapid, than those followed by long-chain triglycerides (LCTS) and long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs). Consequently the MCTs have found numerous applications in oral or enteral nutrition and, more recently, in parenteral nutrition.
The infusion of conventional fat emulsions in stress and sepsis is still controversial. A main question is whether an MCT supply can be beneficial for these patients. In this review, we will discuss different aspects of modified lipid and protein metabolism: exchanges between exogenous fat particles and lipoproteins; exogenous fat clearance, storage, and oxidation; reticuloendothelial system function; nitrogen balance ; and hepatic function.
For each of these perturbations, the MCT/LCT and structured lipid emulsions are theoretically capable to provide an appropriate solution. The efficiency of these emulsions has been demonstrated experimentally on animal models of stress and sepsis. However, the value of MCT-based fat emulsions for these pathological states has still to be ascertained by clinical studies. (Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 12:82S-88S, 1988)