Metabolism of Adrenic and Arachidonic Acids in Nervous System Phospholipids

  • Lloyd A. Horrocks


High concentrations of polyunsaturated fatty acids of the (n-6) and (n-3) series are found in the glycerophospholipids of the nervous system. The most plentiful are docosahexaenoic acid, 22:6 n-3, adrenic acid, 22:4 n-6, and arachidonic acid, 20:4 n-6. These fatty acids are distributed very differently in different glycerophospholipids (Tables 1 and 2). Generally, the ethanolamine lipids have higher proportions of the polyunsaturated fatty acids and lower proportion of the saturated fatty acid, palmitic acid. The comparison of human myelin with mouse brain compositions shows lower proportions of saturated and 22:6 fatty acids in myelin and higher proportions of monounsaturated fatty acids, mostly in oleic acid, 18:1. In human myelin the principal phospholipid is ethanolamine plasmalogen. This phospholipid contains about twice as much adrenic acid as arachidonic acid. The contents of these two fatty acids are about equal in the phosphatidylethanolamine. The mouse brain has lower proportions of adrenic acid than does the human brain. The proportion of adrenic acid in mouse brain ethanolamine glycerophospholipids is particularly important in the ether-linked types, ethanolamine plasmalogen and the alkylacyl type of ethanolamine glycerophospholipid (Fig. 1). In contrast, in the choline glycerophospholipids of mouse brain adrenic acid is almost completely missing whereas some arachidonic acid is present.


Arachidonic Acid Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Mouse Brain Molecular Species Specific Radioactivity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    DeGeorge, J.J., Noronha, J.G., Rapoport, S.I. and Lapetina, E.G. (1988) Incorporation of intravascular [1-14C]arachidonate into rat brain. Trans. Am. Soc. Neurochem. 19: 108.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Dhopeshwarkar, G.A. and Mead, J.F. (1973) Uptake and transport of fatty acids into the brain and the role of the blood-brain barrier system. Adv. Lipid Res. 11: 109–142.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Homayoun, P., Durand, G., Pascal, G. and Bourre, J.M. (1988) Alteration in fatty acid composition of adult rat brain capillaries and choroid plexus induced by a diet deficient in n-3 fatty acids: Slow recovery after substitution with a nondeficient diet. J. Neurochem. 51: 45–48.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Horrocks, L.A., VanRollins, M. and Yates, A.J. 1981. Lipid changes in the ageing brain. In, “The Molecular Basis of Neuropathology”, ed. by A.N. Davison and R.H.S. Thompson. Edward Arnold (Publishers) Ltd., London, pp. 601–630.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Horrocks, L.A. (1989) Sources of brain arachidonic acid uptake and turnover in glycerophospholipids. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 559: 17–24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kimes, A.S., Sweeney, D., London, E.D. and Rapoport, S.I. (1983) Palmitate incorporation into different brain regions in the awake rat. Brain Res. 274: 291–301.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Nakagawa, Y. and Horrocks, L.A. 1983. Separation of alkenylacyl, alkylacyl, and diacyl analogues and their molecular species by high performance liquid chromatography. J. Lipid Res. 24: 1268–1275.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Pardridge, W.M. and Mietus, L.M. (1980) Palmitate and cholesterol transport through the blood-brain barrier. J. Neurochem. 34: 463–466.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Pediconi, M.F., Rodriguez de Turco, E.B. and Bazan, N.G. (1982) Diffusion of intracerebrally injected [1-14C]arachidonic acid and [2-3H]glycerol in the mouse brain. Neurochem. Res. 7: 1453–1463.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Reddy, P.V. and Drewes, L.R. (1988) Transport of palmitate from blood to brain and its incorporation into lipids. FASEB J. 2: A1790.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sprecher, H., VanRollins, M., Sun, F., Wyche, A. and Needleman, P. (1982) Dihomo-prostaglandins and-thromboxane. J. Biol. Chem. 257: 3912–3918.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    VanRollins, M., Horrocks, L., and Sprecher, H. (1985) Metabolism of 7,10,13,16-docosatetraenoic acid to dihomo-thromboxane, 14-hydroxy-7,10,12-nonadecatrienoic acid and hydroxy fatty acids by human platelets. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 833: 272–280.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Youyou, A., Durand, G., Pascal, G., Piciotti, M., Dumont, O. and Bourre, J.M. (1986) Recovery of altered fatty acid composition induced by a diet devoid of n-3 fatty acids in myelin, synaptosomes, mitochondria, and microsomes of developing rat brain. J. Neurochem. 46: 224–228.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lloyd A. Horrocks
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiological ChemistryThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

Personalised recommendations