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Medical Term:

phytanic acid

Pronunciation: fi-tan'ik as'id


A branched-chain fatty acid that accumulates in the serum and tissues in Refsum disease and is attributed to the hereditary absence of phytanate a-oxidase; arises from phytol and acts as an inhibitor of the a-oxidation of palmitic (hexadecanoic) acid; it also accumulates in connection with some other disorders, notably peroxisomal types.

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