Wide-ranging alterations in the brain fatty acid complement of subjects with late Alzheimer’s disease as detected by GC-MS

Muhammad Luqman Nasaruddin*, Christian Hölscher, Patrick Kehoe, Stewart Francis Graham, Brian Desmond Green

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
117 Downloads (Pure)


Disturbed lipid metabolism is a well-established feature of human Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The present study used gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of fatty acid methyl esters (FAMES) to profile all detectable fatty acid (FA) species present in post-mortem neocortical tissue (Brodmann 7 region). Quantitative targeted analysis was undertaken from 29 subjects (n=15 age-matched controls; n=14 late-stage AD). GC-MS analysis of FAMES detected a total of 24 FAs and of these, 20 were fully quantifiable. The results showed significant and wide ranging elevations in AD brain FA concentrations. A total of 9 FAs were elevated in AD with cis-13,16-docosenoic acid increased most (170%; P=0.033). Intriguingly, docosahexanoic acid (DHA; C22:6) concentrations were elevated (47%; P=0.018) which conflicts with the findings of others (unaltered or decreased) in some brain regions after the onset of AD. Furthermore, our results appear to indicate that subject gender influences brain FA levels in AD subjects (but not in age-matched control subjects). Among AD subjects 7 FA species were significantly higher in males than in females. These preliminary findings pinpoint FA disturbances as potentially important in the pathology of AD. Further work is required to determine if such changes are influenced by disease severity or different types of dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-165
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Translational Research
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2016


  • AD
  • Brain tissues
  • DHA
  • Fatty acid
  • GC-MS


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