Send to

Choose Destination
Cell Metab. 2006 May;3(5):321-31.

The ratio of phosphatidylcholine to phosphatidylethanolamine influences membrane integrity and steatohepatitis.

Author information

Department of Biochemistry and Canadian Institutes of Health Research Group on the Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2S2 Canada.


Phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) are major phospholipids in mammalian membranes. In liver, PC is synthesized via the choline pathway or by methylation of PE via phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PEMT). Pemt(-/-) mice fed a choline-deficient (CD) diet develop rapid steatohepatitis leading to liver failure. Steatosis is observed in CD mice that lack both PEMT and multiple drug-resistant protein 2 (MDR2), required for PC secretion into bile. We demonstrate that liver failure in CD-Pemt(-/-) mice is due to loss of membrane integrity caused by a decreased PC/PE ratio. The CD-Mdr2(-/-)/Pemt(-/-) mice escape liver failure by maintaining a normal PC/PE ratio. Manipulation of PC/PE levels suggests that this ratio is a key regulator of cell membrane integrity and plays a role in the progression of steatosis into steatohepatitis. The results have clinical implications as patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis have a decreased ratio of PC to PE compared to control livers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center