Study Title:

n-3 fatty acid deficiency decreases phosphatidylserine accumulation selectively in neuronal tissues.

Study Abstract

We have previously shown that the docosahexaenoate (22:6n-3) status in membrane phospholipids influences the biosynthesis and accumulation of phosphatidylserine (PS) in brain microsomes and C6 glioma cells. In the present study, we investigated whether the observed effect of membrane docosahexaenoic acid status on PS accumulation is universal or occurs specifically in neuronal tissues. We observed that rat brain cortex, brain mitochondria, and olfactory bulb, where 22:6n-3 is highly concentrated, contain significantly higher levels of PS in comparison to liver and adrenal, where 22:6n-3 is a rather minor component. Phospholipid molecular species analysis revealed that in brain cortex, mitochondria, and olfactory bulb 18:0,22:6n-3 was the most abundant species representing 45-65% of total PS. In nonneuronal tissues such as liver and adrenal, 18:0,20:4n-6 was the major PS species. Dietary depletion of n-3 fatty acids during prenatal and postnatal developmental periods decreased the brain 22:6n-3 content by more than 80%, with a concomitant increase in 22:5n-6 in all tissues. Under these conditions, an approximately 30-35% reduction in total PS in rat brain cortex, brain mitochondria, and olfactory bulb was observed, while PS levels in liver and adrenal were unchanged. The observed reduction of PS content in neuronal membranes appears to be due to a dramatic reduction of 18:0,22:6n-3-PS without complete replacement by 18:0,22:5n-6-PS. These results establish that variations in membrane 22:6n-3 fatty acid composition have a profound influence on PS accumulation in neuronal tissues where 22:6n-3 is abundant. These data have implications in neuronal signaling events where PS is believed to play an important role.

Study Information

Lipids. 2000 Aug;35(8):863-9.

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