The effect of moderate and deeper hypothermia on the phospholipid (PL) and fatty acid (FA) composition of synaptic membranes (synaptosomes) in the rat brain was investigated. As hypothermia deepened, phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylserine (PS) levels decreased while those of phosphatidylethanolamine (PEA) remained intact. We attribute the differences both to a peculiar localization of these PL in the synaptic membrane and to a specificity of their function. Under hypothermal exposure, the saturated FA (SFA) level in the FA repertoire of total synaptosomal PL slightly decreased (by 9%) while that of polyunsaturated FA (PUFA) considerably increased, leading to a rise in the lipid unsaturation index (LUI) (by 47%) and promoting the maintenance of synaptic membrane fluidity. For three basic PL (PC, PS and PEA), the tendency was opposite: the SFA level increased while that of PUFA decreased, leading to a fall in the LUI and promoting a higher packing order of PL within the synaptic membrane. In the FA repertoire of the plasmalogen form of PEA (p-PEA), enforced hypothermia led to elevated levels both of SFA and PUFA as well as to a particularly high LUI, typical for this PL. These changes are supposed to be aimed at maintaining optimal membrane fluidity. We consider all the observed changes in lipid characteristics as adaptive, allowing the synaptic function in homeotherms to be supported as body temperature falls.
Journal of Evolutionary Biochemistry and Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 4, 2018
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