Glycerophospholipids in the Brain
Glycerophospholipids are amphipathic molecules that form the backbone of biological membranes, which are organized in bilayers and held together by hydrophobic, coulombic, and Van der Waal forces, and by hydrogen bonds. Biomembranes contain microdomains or lipid rafts that are rich in sphingolipids and cholesterol and serve as mobile platforms for signal transduction by clust- ing and organizing bilayer constituents including receptors, enzymes, and i- channels. Thus, biomembranes are not simply inert physical barriers but are complex dynamic environments that regulate cellular function by modulating activities of membrane-bound enzymes, receptors, and ion channels. Major advances in our understanding of signal transduction processes have occurred in last 20 years. A literature search on PubMed using the key word brain plus another key word illustrates the rapidly increasing interest in phospholipids and their metabolism in the brain (Table P-1). Although changes in the style of indexing at PubMed may skew these results, certainly the interest of researchers on phospholipids and phospholipases in the 5-year period increased at least 5-fold. The greatest increase was 14-fold for plasmalogen, indicating the reali- tion of the very rapid turnover of these compounds and the role of choline pl- malogens (plasmenylcholine) as precursors of signaling molecules. We anticipate that this interest in research on brain phospholipids and phospholipases will c- tinue at a rapid rate in coming years as more information on the composition of glycerophospholipid molecular species and the involvement of phospholipases in normal brain and the pathophysiology of neural trauma and neurodegenerative diseases becomes available.
Presents complicated material on phospholipid metabolism that is accessible to neuroscience graduate studentsIt can be used as a supplement for a range of neuroscience coursesClinicians will find our book useful for understanding molecular aspects of neurodegeneration in acute neural trauma and neurodegenerative diseases