Brain Phosphatidylserine: Metabolism and Functions

  • R. Mozzi
  • S. Buratta
Reference work entry


Phosphatidylserine (PtdSer) is involved in cell signaling and apoptosis. In the brain, PtdSer is enriched in polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Numerous studies have indicated that the abundance of DHA in the brain is essential for optimal neuronal function. PtdSer concentration in the nervous tissue membranes varies with age, brain areas, cell type and subcellular components. PtdSer is synthesized by base exchange between free serine and the nitrogen base present in phosphatidylethanolamine or phosphatidylcholine. The capability to synthesize PtdSer by base exchange varies with cell types, subcellular fractions and developmental stage. At least two isoforms of PtdSer synthesizing enzymes are present in brain. PtdSer cellular levels also depend on its decarboxylation to phosphatidylethanolamine or conversion to lysoPtdSer by phospholipases. The mechanisms regulating PtdSer synthesis and degradation are still not defined. Thus, the role of PtdSer in cell signaling and apoptosis cannot be clearly established at molecular level. Several reports indicate that alteration in PtdSer synthesis might participate to development of brain damage.


Base Exchange Brain Mitochondrion Brain Membrane Brain Microsome Synaptosomal Plasma Membrane 
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.

List of Abbreviations:


base exchange enzyme


cerebellar granule cells


Chinese hamster ovary


docosahexaenoic acid




phospholipase A1


phospholipase A2












PtdSer decarboxylase


PtdSer synthase


serine base exchange enzyme specific for serine


serine/ethanolamine base exchange enzyme


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

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  • R. Mozzi
  • S. Buratta

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