There are several reports of reduced levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), particularly arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in membrane phospholipid from various tissues including red blood cells (RBC) taken from schizophrenic patients. However, reports have not been entirely consistent and most studies have been confounded by the potential effects of environmental factors including antipsychotic medication and diet. We measured PUFA levels in RBC from two separate groups of unmedicated patients and control subjects from India and Malaysia, populations which have substantial differences in diet. We found no significant difference in levels of AA between patients and control subjects in either population. Levels of adrenic acid were significantly reduced, and levels of DHA significantly increased in both clinical populations. However, diet-related differences in DHA between the populations from India and Malaysia were much greater than differences between schizophrenic patients and controls. It is concluded that reduced RBC membrane levels of AA and DHA are not pathognomic of schizophrenia but that variations in cell membrane fatty acid levels are an epiphenomenon which may reflect underlying abnormalities of phospholipid and fatty acid metabolism and their interaction with environmental factors including medication and diet.
Blood fatty acids (FAs) are derived from endogenous and dietary routes. Metabolic abnormalities from kidney dysfunction, as well as cross-cultural dietary habits, may alter the FA profile of dialysis patients (DP), leading to detrimental clinical outcomes. Therefore, we aimed to (i) summarize FA status of DP from different countries, (ii) compare blood FA composition between healthy controls and DP, and (iii) evaluate FA profile and clinical endpoints in DP. Fifty-three articles from 1980 onwards, reporting FA profile in hemodialysis and peritoneal DP, were identified from PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane library. Studies on pediatric, predialysis chronic kidney disease, acute kidney injury, and transplant patients were excluded. Moderate to high levels of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) were reported in Japan, Korea, Denmark, and Sweden. Compared to healthy adults, DP had lower proportions of n-3 and n-6 PUFA, but higher proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids. Two studies reported inverse associations between n-3 PUFAs and risks of sudden cardiac death, while one reported eicosapentaenoic acid + docosahexaenoic acid)/arachidonic acid ratio was inversely associated with cardiovascular events. The relationship between all-cause mortality and blood FA composition in DP remained inconclusive. The current evidence highlights a critical role for essential FA in nutritional management of DP.