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Relation between Essential Fatty Acid Metabolism and Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Cystic Fibrosis

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Studies in our laboratory have supported the hypothesis, that the basic defect in cystic fibrosis increases the metabolism of essential fatty acids and thereby gradually gives rise to essential fatty acid deficiency, which is a well documented finding in most cases with this disease. Both the increased metabolism—giving high liberation of arachidonic acid and its metabolic products, i.e. different eicosanoids—and the subsequent essential fatty acid deficiency will cause gastrointestinal symptoms and the sequence of this development will mirror the natural history of the disease. Clinical data and results from animal research are discussed in relation to gastrointestinal symptoms and signs of cystic fibrosis.
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Keywords: arachidonic acid; eicosanoids; intestine; linoleic acid; liver; pancreas

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Departments of Paediatrics and Research Centre, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: November 1, 1989

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