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Red blood cell fatty acid profile of chronic renal failure patients receiving maintenance haemodialysis treatment.

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Department of Physiology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.


The fatty acid profile of chronic renal failure (CRF) patients on maintenance haemodialysis treatment (MHT) is abnormal and results point towards an essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency. However, controversies still exist as to which of the essential fatty acids (EFAs) or EFA-products are decreased. In this study, the results of a comprehensive analysis of the fatty acids, performed on the red blood cells of 14 CRF patients on MHT, are presented. The red blood cell membrane fatty acids determined in this study include a range of saturated fatty acids (SFAs), mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Results confirmed the suggested presence of an essential fatty acid deficiency in CRF patients on MHT. It showed the total content of the n-6 fatty acids (31.66 +/- 3.21 vs 34.67 +/- 2.05), as well as the total content of the PUFAs (37.22 +/- 4.08 vs 40.93 +/- 2.35), to be significantly decreased. The total MUFA content was, in contrast, significantly increased (16.87 +/- 0.91 vs 15.49 +/- 1.18). The EFA deficiency profile seen in this study points towards that of a chronic inflammatory condition. This is borne out by the fact that all three precursors of the eicosanoids--the mediators of various inflammatory and immune responses--were reduced in the presence of an increase in MUFAs as well as SFAs. The possibility of the fatty acid profile of CRF patients on MHT being that of a chronic inflammatory condition is supported by the fact that continuous complement-dependent and complement-independent immune activation, due to bio-incompatibility between blood cells and the dialysis membranes, is known to occur during the dialysis process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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