The lipid patterns of plasma, red blood cells, and leucocytes from normal controls and from patients with multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease have been studied by thin-layer chromatography. The fatty acid composition of cholesterol esters and lecithin in plasma from normal subjects and from patients with multiple sclerosis are reported. The fatty acid composition of lecithin of cerebral white matter from normal control subjects, from multiple sclerosis, and from motor neurone disease as well as of cholesterol esters in multiple sclerosis are recorded and compared. No significant abnormalities were found in the blood lipid profile in multiple sclerosis, but in motor neurone disease red cell sphingomyelin was slightly reduced and white cell lecithin slightly increased. The fatty acids of plasma cholesterol esters showed a slight decrease in palmitic and stearic acid in multiple sclerosis. The fatty acids in lecithin in multiple sclerosis, both in the apparently normal white matter and in the plaques, showed a slightly increased degree of saturation, while the loss of unsaturated acids was in oleic acids.
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