Neurochemical Research

, Volume 26, Issue 7, pp 771–782 | Cite as

Brain Membrane Phospholipid Alterations in Alzheimer's Disease

  • Jay W. Pettegrew
  • Kanagasabai Panchalingam
  • Ronald L. Hamilton
  • Richard J. McClure


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 metabolism Alzheimer's disease apolipoprotein E 31P NMR phosphatidylethanolamine phosphatidylethanolamine plasmalogen phosphatidylinositol sphingomyelin diphosphatidylglycerol 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jay W. Pettegrew
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Kanagasabai Panchalingam
    • 5
  • Ronald L. Hamilton
    • 3
  • Richard J. McClure
    • 5
  1. 1.Neurophysics LaboratoryDepartment of PsychiatryUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pathology (Division of Neuropathology), School of MedicineUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh
  4. 4.Health Services AdministrationUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh
  5. 5.Neurophysics Laboratory, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh

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