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Essential fatty acid metabolism in diseases of connective tissue with special reference to scleroderma and to Sjogren's syndrome

Posted Sep 11 2009 4:57pm

Horrobin DF

Med Hypotheses (England) Jul 1984, 14 (3) p233-47

Drugs which modify the conversion of essential fatty acids to prostaGLAndins and leukotrienes are the mainstays of treatment in rheumatology. Yet these drugs have little or no action in scleroderma or Sjogren's syndrome and under some circumstances may have adverse effects. Patients with scleroderma have been shown to have very high levels of circulating prostaglandins, coupled with depletion of the prostaglandin precursors, dihomogammalinolenic acid and arachidonic acid. Levels of the metabolites of arachidonic acid, 22:4n-6 and 22:5n-6, which have major roles in maintaining normal cell membrane characteristics were exceptionally low in both plasma and red cell membranes. Others have observed that various functions are highly resistant to normal actions of PGs in scleroderma. This raises the possibility that the high rate of PG formation in scleroderma may be beneficial, in compensation, and that clinical symptoms develop when PG precursors begin to be depleted. Red cell membrane fatty acids patterns in Sjogren's syndrome are almost identical to those in scleroderma. Placebo-controlled trials of supplementation with essential fatty acids have been found to be beneficial in both scleroderma and Sjogren's syndrome.

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