Send to

Choose Destination

The acyl composition of mammalian phospholipids: an allometric analysis.

Author information

Metabolic Research Centre, Department of Biological Science, University of Wollongong, NSW 2522, Wollongong, Australia.


Data concerning the acyl composition of tissue phospholipids from mammal species, ranging in size from the shrew (7 g) to cattle (370 kg), has been collated from the literature and analysed allometrically. Phospholipids from heart, skeletal muscle, liver and kidney exhibited similar allometric trends whereby phospholipids had a significant decrease in unsaturation index (number of double bonds per 100 acyl chains) as species body size increased whilst there was no change in the percent of unsaturated acyl chains. Whilst total polyunsaturate content did not change with body mass, both heart and skeletal muscle phospholipids showed a significant allometric decrease in the omega-3 polyunsaturate content. The content of the highly polyunsaturated docosahexaenoic acid (22:6 n-3) in phospholipids showed significant and substantial allometric decline with increasing body mass in all four tissues (exponents ranged from -0.19 in liver to -0.40 in skeletal muscle). Brain phospholipids showed no allometric trends in acyl composition and were highly polyunsaturated in all species. These trends are discussed in light of the hypothesis that the relative content of polyunsaturated acyl chains in membranes, and especially docosahexaenoate (22:6 n-3), can act as a membrane pacemaker for metabolic activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center