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Clin Nutr. 1997 Aug;16(4):177-83.

Changes in mucosal fatty acid profile in inflammatorybowel disease and in experimental colitis: a common response to bowel inflammation.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Research Unit, Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol, Carretera del Canyet s/n, 08916 Badalona, Spain.



Plasma polyunsaturated fatty acid profile in patients with inflammatory bowel disease is abnormal. We aimed to assess the mucosal fatty acid pattern in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, and in rats with trinitrobenzene-sulfonic acid (TNB) induced colitis.


Fatty acids were measured in colonic mucosa of patients with ulcerative colitis (n = 30), Crohn's disease (n = 21), and healthy controls (n = 13). Likewise, they were assessed in the colonic mucosa of rats with TNB- and sham-colitis.


There was an increase of the end-products (C22:5n3, C22:6n3, C20:4n6, C22:5n6) and a decrease of the precursors (C18:3n3, C18:2n6) of both n3 and n6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the mucosa of active ulcerative colitis and TNB-colitis. Also, high values of saturated (C16:0, C18:0) and low values of monounsaturated fatty acids (C18:1n9) were observed. Furthermore, the mucosa of active Crohn's disease showed substantial changes in saturated, monounsaturated and essential fatty acids, but not in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Mucosa of patients with inactive disease showed intermediate fatty acid values between the mucosa of active patients and healthy controls.


Colonic inflammation causes a characteristic modification of the mucosal fatty acid profile which appears to be common to different aetiologies and seems to be related to the degree of inflammation.

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