Structural specificity in demyelination induced by lysophospholipids

P. A. Low, J. D. Schmelzer, J. K. Yao, P. J. Dyck, S. Parthasarathy, W. J. Baumann

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20 Scopus citations


The demyelinating activity of lysophosphatidylcholine (lysoPC) and various structural analogs in rat sciatic nerve was evaluated by following electrophysiologic changes within the first hour and 1 week after intraneural injection. The lysophospholipids tested included 1-O-hexadecanoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (1-acyl-GPC), 3-O-hexadecanoyl-sn-glycero-1-phosphocholine (3-acyl-GPC), 1-O-hexadecanoylpropanediol-3-phosphocholine (acyl-PPC), 1-O-hexadecylpropanediol-3-phosphocholine (alkyl-PPC) and 1-acyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (1-acyl-GPE). Changes in conduction velocity, width, amplitude and time integral percentage were measured. Within 1 hour, the highest demyelinating activity was observed for alkyl-PPC, followed by 3-acyl-GPC, 1-acyl-GPC and acyl-PPC. Hydrolysis products of lysoPC (glycerophosphocholine, fatty acid), lysophosphatidylethanolamine (1-acyl-GPE), biradyl choline phospholipids (1, 2-di-O-alkyl-rac-glycero-3-phosphocholine, dialkyl-GPC) or sodium deoxycholate proved ineffective in these short-term experiments. One week after intraneural injection, all lysophospholipids tested caused severe electrophysiologic changes, although dialkyl-GPC and sodium deoxycholate did not. Our data suggest (i) that differences in early demyelinating activity by the choline lysophospholipids are related to their rate of turnover, as highest activity was associated with the agents that are not metabolized by lysophospholipase (e.g., alkyl-PPC) or lysolecithin acyltransferase (e.g., 3-acyl-GPC), (ii) that the lysoPC molecule as such and not its products of catabolism causes demyelination, and (iii) that demyelinating activity is not due to the general detergent action of lysoPC, but rather that specific interactions appear to trigger the processes of demyelination induced by lysophospholipids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-304
Number of pages7
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)/Lipids and Lipid Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 20 1983


  • (Rat sciatic nerve)
  • Choline lysophospholipid
  • Demyelination
  • Lysophosphatidylcholine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology


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