Platelet-Activating Factor and PAF-Like Mimetics

  • Ralph E. Whatley
  • Guy A. Zimmerman
  • Stephen M. Prescott
  • Thomas M. McIntyre
Part of the Handbook of Lipid Research book series (HLRE, volume 8)


Platelet-activating factor (PAF; 1-O-alkyl–2-acetyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine; Fig. 7-1) is a potent bioactive lipid, with a diverse array of biologic effects in isolated systems, and which has as many roles in inflammatory states in vivo. Its name comes from observations in 1972 that a lipid extracted from the blood of rabbits undergoing anaphylaxis caused ex vivo activation of platelets (Benveniste et al., 1972). At about the same time, other investigators found that a lipid extracted from kidneys lowered blood pressure in an animal model (Blank et al.,1979). Subsequent elucidation of the structure of these compounds showed both to be 1-O-alkyl–2-acetyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine. Although the name derives from its original description as an activator of platelets, it belies the vast array of other actions known to be mediated by this potent lipid. In fact, activation of platelets may be its least important role: rats, and many of their isolated cells, respond to PAF, but their platelets are resistant as they lack the high-affinity receptor for PAF.


Cigarette Smoke Extract Ethanolamine Plasmalogen Remodel Pathway Choline Head Group Cell Calcium Concentration 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralph E. Whatley
    • 1
  • Guy A. Zimmerman
    • 2
  • Stephen M. Prescott
    • 3
    • 4
  • Thomas M. McIntyre
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of MedicineEast Carolina University School of MedicineGreenvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of Utah School of MedicineSalt Lake CityUSA
  3. 3.Departments of Medicine and BiochemistryNora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training InstituteSalt Lake CityUSA
  4. 4.Eccles Institute of Human GeneticsUniversity of Utah School of MedicineSalt Lake CityUSA
  5. 5.Departments of Medicine and BiochemistryUniversity of Utah School of MedicineSalt Lake CityUSA

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