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J Neurol Sci. 2006 May 15;244(1-2):123-6. Epub 2006 Mar 6.

Erythrocyte membrane fatty acids in benign and progressive forms of multiple sclerosis.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9713 GZ Groningen, The Netherlands.



There is no good explanation why a proportion of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have a relatively benign form of the disease. An imbalance between saturated and unsaturated fatty acids (FA) might influence the disease course of MS.


To assess whether the erythrocyte membrane fatty acid composition, which is a biological marker of long term dietary FA consumption, is different between patients with benign and progressive MS.


The erythrocyte membrane FA composition was measured by gas chromatography in 23 healthy controls, 27 patients with benign MS, 32 patients with secondary progressive MS and 23 patients with primary progressive MS. None of the patients was following a special diet.


No significant differences in levels of saturated and unsaturated FA or in omega-3- and omega-6-polyunsaturated FA were found between controls and patients with the different subtypes of MS.


Our data suggest that factors other than dietary fatty acid consumption are responsible for the different disease courses of MS.

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