Plasmalogenase is Elevated in Early Demyelinating Lesions
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Plasmalogenase catalyzes the hydrolysis of ethanolamine plasmalogens to long-chain aldehydes and 2-acyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamines. During development, plasmalogenase activity parallels myelination. The enzyme is most concentrated within oligodendroglial cells and is absent from myelin. The normal function of plasmalogenase in white matter may be related to its specificity for plasmalogens that contain most of the thromboxane and prostaglandin precursors.
Plasmalogenase activities are elevated in demyelinating CNS tissues including canine white matter with lesions due to distemper virus. Elevated plasmalogenase activity precedes cellular invasion and lysosomal activation as indicated by β-glucuronidase, acid proteinase and neutral proteinase activities. The elevation of plasmalogenase activity was 4.9-fold greater than normal in an early demyelinating lesion caused by the Snyder-Hill strain of distemper virus. Phospholipases acting on phosphatidyl ethanolamine were not activated in this tissue and have activities much lower than plasmalogenase in control tissues. Plasmalogenase activities are also elevated after intracerebral injections of complement-dependent anti-myelin antibody and after ischemia. Plasmalogenase acting on the oligodendrocyte plasma membrane may be responsible for necrosis of the oligodendrocyte that results in demyelination.
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