Neurochemical Research

, Volume 26, Issue 7, pp 771–782

Brain Membrane Phospholipid Alterations in Alzheimer's Disease


  • Jay W. Pettegrew
    • Neurophysics LaboratoryDepartment of Psychiatry
    • Department of Neurology
    • Health Services AdministrationUniversity of Pittsburgh
  • Kanagasabai Panchalingam
    • Neurophysics Laboratory, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pittsburgh
  • Ronald L. Hamilton
    • Department of Pathology (Division of Neuropathology), School of MedicineUniversity of Pittsburgh
  • Richard J. McClure
    • Neurophysics Laboratory, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pittsburgh

DOI: 10.1023/A:1011603916962

Cite this article as:
Pettegrew, J.W., Panchalingam, K., Hamilton, R.L. et al. Neurochem Res (2001) 26: 771. doi:10.1023/A:1011603916962


Studies have demonstrated alterations in brain membrane phospholipid metabolite levels in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The changes in phospholipid metabolite levels correlate with neuropathological hallmarks of the disease and measures of cognitive decline. This 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) study of Folch extracts of autopsy material reveals significant reductions in AD brain levels of phosphatidylethanolamine (PtdEtn) and phosphatidylinositol (PtdIns), and elevations in sphingomyelin (SPH) and the plasmalogen derivative of PtdEtn. In the superior temporal gyrus, there were additional reductions in the levels of diphosphatidylglycerol (DPG) and phosphatidic acid (PtdA). The findings are present in 3/3 as well as 3/4 and 4/4 apolipoprotein E (apoE) genotypes. The AD findings do not appear to reflect non-specific neurodegeneration or the presence of gliosis. The present findings could possibly contribute to an abnormal membrane repair in AD brains which ultimately results in synaptic loss and the aggregation of Aβ peptide.

Phospholipid metabolismAlzheimer's diseaseapolipoprotein E31P NMRphosphatidylethanolaminephosphatidylethanolamine plasmalogenphosphatidylinositolsphingomyelindiphosphatidylglycerol

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001