Five patients with multiple sclerosis and four normal subjects have been followed for over two years. Plasma phospholipid levels and phospholipid fatty acid composition have been assayed periodically. The increased amount of plasma lysolecithin already described by us has been confirmed in this longitudinal study. A significant increase in saturated fatty acids of lysolecithin has also been demonstrated. In contrast, the lecithin concentration and fatty acid composition do not show any significant variations. The lysolecithin saturated/unsaturated fatty acid ratio was different in the same patients at different times, but no correlation was established between these variations and the clinical symptoms measured using the Kurtzke scale. The possible significance of saturated fatty acid increase in lysolecithin in the pathogenetic mechanisms of multiple sclerosis is discussed.
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