Elevated level and underdeveloped fatty acid composition of brain cholesterol esters in malnourished children

Neurochemistry International
H K Yusuf, J W Dickerson


The content and fatty acid composition of cholesterol esters were measured in the forebrain, cerebellum, and brain stem of children who died within the first 2 years of life from severe malnutrition syndrome of kwashiorkor, marasmus, or marasmic kwashiorkor. All three brain regions of the malnourished children had elevated concentrations of cholesterol esters, compared to those of apparently normal, well-nourished children of comparable ages. This was particularly true for the brain stem, in which the elevation in some cases was 10-fold or more. In this brain region, and less pronouncedly also in the cerebellum, the elevations were more marked in the second year of life than in the first year. Fatty acid analysis showed that the developmental changes that are seen in brain cholesterol esters during normal growth, for example, fall in percentage proportions of palmitic and oleic acids and a concomitant rise in the proportion of arachidonic acid, were absent in the brain regions of the malnourished children.


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Related Concepts

Arachidonic Acid
Brain Stem
Cholesterol Esters
Fatty Acids
Oleic Acid

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