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Fatty acid composition in total phospholipids of human coronary arteries in sudden cardiac death

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      Abstract

      A study was made of the fatty acid composition of the total phospholipid fraction of human coronary arteries in 30 cases of sudden cardiac death due to ischaemic heart disease (aged 40 t 5 years, mean ± S.D.) and in 29 controls (mostly traffic accident victims, aged 45 ± 6 years). The coronary arteries from cases of sudden cardiac death showed more atherosclerotic lesions than those of controls (P < 0.001). The percentages of palmitic acid (16:0) and linoleic acid (18:2(n-6)) were significantly higher and the percentage of arachidonic acid (20:4(n-6)) and of all the other major polyunsaturated fatty acids, both n-6 and n-3, was significantly lower in cases of sudden cardiac death than in controls. In conclusion, this study showed increased percentages of saturated and reduced percentages of polyunsaturated fatty acids, except linoleic acid, in total phospholipids of human coronary arteries in cases of sudden cardiac death. The results suggest an impaired metabolism of linoleic acid, possibly due to a decreased delta-6-desaturase activity in the coronary artery wall in cases of sudden cardiac death.

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