Free Fatty Acid Composition of Human and Rat Peripheral Nerve

Jeffrey K. Yao, Peter James Dyck, Jon A. VanLoon, Thomas P. Moyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Abstract: The free fatty acid (FFA) composition of peripheral nerve resembles that of erythrocytes but the composition of both is different from that of brain and other tissues. Approximately 75% of FFAs of nerve and erythrocytes are saturated and <5% are polyunsaturated whereas in brain and other tissues, 30‐45% of FFAs are saturated and 25‐50% are polyunsaturated. Approximately 10‐15% of the total FFA of nerve have very long chain lengths [C24, C26, C28, and C30]. The presence of these very long‐chain FFAs in endoneurium cannot be accounted for by the retention of erythrocytes or by lipid degradation. During Wallerian degeneration a significant increase of 18:1, associated with a decrease of saturated FFAs, was found in rat sciatic endoneurium, but normal values were approached when fiber regeneration was well under way. The FFA composition with chain length ≥C26 were not, however, significantly altered with degeneration or repair of nerves. The metabolic significance of this striking difference between nerve and brain FFA composition is unknown but may reflect different functional properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1211-1218
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1981


  • Esterified fatty acid
  • Free fatty acid
  • Peripheral nerve
  • Wallerian degeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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