, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 205-207

Evidence for increased lipid peroxidation in multiple sclerosis

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Pentane and ethane are degradation products of unsaturated fatty acids which are released during lipid peroxidation. In order to assess whether multiple sclerosis is associated with lipid peroxidation, we measured pentane and ethane excretion by 16 patients with multiple sclerosis and compared them to healthy control subjects. Patients with acute exacerbation of multiple sclerosis had significantly higher concentrations of pentane (10.5±4.2 nmol/l)(p<0.01) compared to either patients in remission (4.5±1.7 nmol/l) or control subjects (4.9±1.1 nmol/l). The concentrations of ethane were not significantly different among these groups. Of the patients with acute exacerbation who later achieved remission, the pentane excretion also returned to normal (5.6±0.9 nmol/l). One patient who failed to reachieve clinical remission continued to excrete large amounts of pentane. We conclude that oxygen free radical activity is enhanced during exacerbation multiple sclerosis.