Human Brain Lipid Composition Changes with Age and Alterations in Some Pathological States: A New Method of Graphic Analysis

  • George Rouser
  • Gene Kritchevsky
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 19)

Abstract

A method is presented with which abnormalities of brain lipid composition can be disclosed and defined precisely. The total amount of lipid is first compared to that of normal brain by plotting values as percentage of the fresh weight against age and noting whether or not values are within the normal range. Abnormal proportions of lipid classes are disclosed by plotting values for each lipid class against the value for total phospholipid. This method of comparison to normal can be used with biopsy samples weighing only a few milligrams, although precise comparison to normal individuals on age plots is possible only with representative samples of whole brain and is thus limited to postmortem examinations. Results obtained with data from 17 cases of metabolic disorders are presented. In Tay-Sachs disease, GM1 gangliosidosis, Niemann-Pick disease, and metachromatic leukodystrophy, total lipid is lower than normal, the percentages of all sphingolipids are generally increased, the percentage of phosphatidyl choline is decreased and the percentages of phosphatidyl ethanolamine, phosphatidyl serine, and phosphatidyl inositol are normal. A similar pattern of change was found in the brain of one phenylketonuria patient which in addition was found to have an elevated triglyceride level. In Farber’s disease, cerebroside and sulfatide percentages were above normal and accumulation of a ceramide polyhexoside was noted. In Alzheimer’s disease, a small reduction in the percentages of phosphatidyl ethanolamine was found. In one unclassfied case, only one abnormality, an elevation of minor acidic phospholipids, was apparent in brain and spleen. No distinct abnormalities were detected in acute infantile or chronic Gaucher’s diseases, paranoid schizophrenia, mental depression, or an unclassified case with neurological problems. The findings are discussed and the probability of Farber’s disease being a disorder of ceramide polyhexoside degradation is emphasized.

Keywords

Phosphatidyl Choline Lipid Class Phosphatidyl Ethanolamine Total Lipid Content Total Phospholipid 
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.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Rouser
    • 1
  • Gene Kritchevsky
    • 1
  1. 1.City of Hope National Medical CenterDuarteUSA

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