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)


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.


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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. (1).
    Fredrickson, D.S., and Lees, R.S. in The Metabolic Basis of Inherited Disease, 2nd Ed. (Eds. J.B. Stanbury, J.B. Wyngaarden, and D.S. Fredrickson), Blakiston Div., McGraw-Hill Book Co., 429–485 (1966).Google Scholar
  2. (2).
    Brady, R.O. Chem. Phys. Lipids 5: 261 (1970).Google Scholar
  3. (3).
    O’Brien, J.S., Okada, S., Ho, M.W., Fillerup, D.L., Veath, M.L., and Adams, K. Fed. Proc. 30: 956 (1971).Google Scholar
  4. (4).
    Steinberg, D., Herndon, J.H.,Jr., Uhlendorf, B.W., Avigan, J., Mize, C.E., and Fales, H.M. J. Clin. Invest. 46: 1120 (1967).Google Scholar
  5. (5).
    Rouser, G., Simon, G., and Kritchevsky, G. Lipids 4: 599 (1969).Google Scholar
  6. (6).
    Rouser, G., Kritchevsky, G., Heller, D., and Lieber, E. J. Amer. Oil Chemists ’ Soc. 40: 425 (1963).Google Scholar
  7. (7).
    Siakotos, A.N. and Rouser, G. J. Amer. Oil Chemists ’ Soc. 42: 913 (1965).Google Scholar
  8. (8).
    Rouser, G., Siakotos, A.N., and Fleischer, S. Lipids 1: 85 (1966).Google Scholar
  9. (9).
    Rouser, G., Fleischer, S., and Yamamoto, A. Lipids 5: 294 (1970).Google Scholar
  10. (10).
    Yamamoto, A., and Rouser, G. Lipids 5: 442 (1970).Google Scholar
  11. (11).
    Hanel, H.K., and Dam, H. Acta Chem. Scand. 9: 677 (1955).Google Scholar
  12. (12).
    Rouser, G., Yamamoto, A., and Kritchevsky, G. Arch, Int. Med. 127: 1105 (1971).Google Scholar
  13. (13).
    Rouser, G., Yamamoto, A., and Kritchevsky, G. in Advances in Exp. Med. & Biol., Vol. 14: Chemistry and Brain Development (Eds. R. Paoletti and A.N. Davison), Plenum Press, 91–109 (1971).Google Scholar
  14. (14).
    Cumings, J.N., Goodwin, H., Woodward, E.M., and Curzon, G. J. Neurochem. 2: 289 (1958).Google Scholar
  15. (15).
    O’Brien, J.S., Fillerup, D.L., and Mead, J.F. J. Lipid Res. 5: 109 (1964).Google Scholar
  16. (16).
    O’Brien, J.S., and Sampson, E.L. J. Lipid Res. 6: 537 (1965).Google Scholar
  17. (17).
    Std.11berg-Stenhagen, S. and Svennerholm, L. J. Lipid Res. 6: 146 (1965).Google Scholar
  18. (18).
    Menkes, J.H., Philippart, M., and Concone, M.C. J. Lipid Res. 7: 479 (1966).Google Scholar
  19. (19).
    Fillerup, D.L., and Mead, J.F. Lipids 2: 295 (1967).Google Scholar
  20. (20).
    Svennerholm, L. J. Lipid Res. 9: 570 (1968).Google Scholar
  21. (21).
    Svennerholm, L., and StIlllberg-Stenhagen, S. J. Lipid Res. 9: 215 (1968).Google Scholar
  22. (22).
    Rouser, G., and Yamamoto, A. Lipids 3: 284 (1968).Google Scholar
  23. (23).
    Rouser, G., and Yamamoto, A. in Handbook of Neurochemistry, Vol. I (Ed. A. Lajtha ), Plenum Press, 121–169 (1969).Google Scholar
  24. (24).
    Rouser, G., Kritchevsky, G., Siakotos, A., and Yamamoto, A. in Neuropathology: Methods and Diagnosis (Ed. C.G. Tedeschi) Little Brown & Co., 691–752 (1970).Google Scholar
  25. (25).
    Rouser, G., Kritchevsky, G., Yamamoto, A., and Baxter, C.F. in Advances in Lipid Research (Eds. R. Paoletti and D. Kritchevsky), Academic Press (in press)Google Scholar
  26. (26).
    Rouser, G., Kritchevsky, G., Galli, C., Yamamoto, A., and Knudson, A. in Inborn Disorders of Sphingolipid Metabolism (Eds. S.M. Aronson and B.W. Volk), Pergamon Press, 303–316 (1967).Google Scholar
  27. (27).
    Banker, B.Q., Miller, J.Q., and Crocker, A.C. in Cerebral Sphingolipidoses (Eds. S.M. Aronson and B.W. Volk ), Academic Press, 73–99 (1962).Google Scholar
  28. (28).
    Prensky, A.L., Ferreira, G., Carr, S., and Moser, H.W. Proc. Soc. Exper. Biol. Med. 126: 725 (1967).Google Scholar
  29. (29).
    Clausen, J., and Rampini, S. Acta Neurol. Scand. 46: 313 (1970).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. (30).
    Rouser, G., Kritchevsky, G., Yamamoto, A., Knudson, A., and Simon, G. Lipids 3: 287 (1968).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. (31).
    Rouser, G., Galli, C., and Kritchevsky, G. J. Amer. Oil Chemists ’ Soc. 42: 404 (1965).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. (32).
    Rouser, G., Feldman, G., and Galli, C. J. Am. Oil Chemists ’ Soc. 42: 411 (1965).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. (33).
    Rouser, G., Kritchevsky, G., and Galli, C. J. Amer. Oil Chemists ’ Soc. 42: 412 (1965).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. (34).
    Yamamoto, A., Adachi, S., Ishibe, T., Shinji, Y., Kaki-Uchi, Y., Seki, K.I., and Kitani, T. Lipids 5: 566 (1970).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. (35).
    Yamamoto, A., Adachi, S., Kitani, T., Shinji, Y., Seki, K., Nasu, T., and Nishikawa, M. J. Biochem. 69: 613 (1971)Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations