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Essential fatty acid metabolism in patients with essential hypertension, diabetes mellitus and coronary heart disease.

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Department of Medicine, Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, Punjagutta, Hyderabad, India.


Mortality and morbidity from coronary heart disease (CHD), diabetes mellitus (DM) and essential hypertension (HTN) are higher in people of South Asian descent than in other groups. There is evidence to believe that essential fatty acids (EFAs) and their metabolites may have a role in the pathobiology of CHD, DM and HTN. Fatty acid analysis of the plasma phospholipid fraction revealed that in CHD the levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are low, in patients with HTN linoleic acid (LA) and AA are low, and in patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and diabetic nephropathy the levels of dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA), AA, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and DHA are low, all compared to normal controls. These results are interesting since DGLA, AA and EPA form precursors to prostaglandin E1, (PGE1), prostacyclin (PGI2), and PGI3, which are potent platelet anti-aggregators and vasodilators and can prevent thrombosis and atherosclerosis. Further, the levels of lipid peroxides were found to be high in patients with CHD, HTN, NIDDM and diabetic nephropathy. These results suggest that increased formation of lipid peroxides and an alteration in the metabolism of EFAs are closely associated with CHD, HTN and NIDDM in Indians.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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