Metabolic fate of intravenously administered N-acetylneuraminic acid-6-14C in newborn piglets

Bing Wang*, Jeff A. Downing, Peter Petocz, Jennie Brand-Miller, Wayne L. Bryden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Sialic acid (N-acetylneuraminic acid), a component of gangliosides and sialylglycoproteins, may be a conditional nutrient in early life because endogenous synthesis is limited. The aim of this study was to investigate the metabolic fate of intravenously administrated N-acetylneuraminic acid 614C (sialic acid) in piglets. Method: Three-day-old male domestic piglets (Sus scrofa) were injected via the jugular vein with 5 μCi (11-12x106 cpm) of N-acetylneuraminic acid-614C (specific activity of 55 mCi/mmol). Blood samples were collected at regular intervals over the next 120 min. The organs were then removed and the urine collected for determination of residual radioactivity. Results: Within 2 min of injection, 80% of the activity was removed from the blood and by 120 min the remaining activity approached 8%. At 120 min, the brain contained significantly more radioactivity (cpm/g tissue) than the liver, pancreas, heart and spleen, but less than the kidneys. Within the brain, the percentage of total injected activity was highest in the cerebrum (0.175 ± 0.008) followed by the cerebellum (0.0295 ± 0.006, p = 0.00006) and the thalamus (0.029 ± 0.006, p = 0.00003). Conclusions: An exogenous source of sialic acid is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier and being taken up into various tissues. The findings suggest that dietary sources of sialic acid may contribute to early brain development in newborn mammals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-115
Number of pages6
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


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