• fatty acids;
  • linoleic acid;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • phospholipids;
  • red blood cells


The fatty acid (FA) composition of each phospholipid constituent of the red blood cells (RBC) was analyzed, by thin-layer and gas chromatography techniques, in 61 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and 61 normal subjects, in whom the plasma lipid FA composition had previously been studied. The MS patients showed a significant decrease in the proportions of linoleic and arachidonic acids in most phospholipids, with a compensatory increase of saturated FA. Correlations between FA percentages in plasma and cell lipids demonstrated abnormalities in the MS patients, suggestive of a disturbance in the exchange between these compartments. The alterations reported in plasma and RBC in the MS patients are consistent with a relative deficiency of essential FA