Membrane lipid changes in laminectomized and traumatized cat spinal cord.


Free fatty acid (FFA), diacylglycerol (acyl2Gro), icosanoid, phospholipid, and cholesterol levels were measured in samples of cat spinal cord (L2) that were frozen in situ with vertebrae intact, at various times after laminectomy, and at various times after laminectomy with compression trauma to the spinal cord. Tissue samples either were grossly dissected into gray and white portions prior to FFA and acyl2Gro analysis or were used whole for the other lipid types. Gray matter total FFA and acyl2Gro values were abnormally high in samples frozen with vertebrae intact and in those frozen 10 min after laminectomy. This indicates that the surgical procedures resulted in some perturbation of spinal cord lipid metabolism. If the experimental animals were allowed to recover for 90 min after laminectomy, the gray matter FFA and acyl2Gro levels were greatly reduced. Compression of the spinal cord with a 170-g weight for 1, 3, or 5 min (following 90 min of recovery after laminectomy) caused significant elevations of total FFA, acyl2Gro, icosanoids, and phosphatidic acid and significant decreases in ethanolamine plasmalogens and cholesterol. Among the total FFA, arachidonic acid was found to have the largest relative increase. Comparisons of gray and white matter demonstrate that, in general, changes in white matter FFA and acyl2Gro were similar to those seen in gray matter. However, the increases in white matter levels of FFA and acyl2Gro were delayed, occurring after the elevations in gray matter. For some FFA (e.g., arachidonate), the rise in white matter occurred as gray matter levels were decreasing. This suggests that the initial alteration in spinal cord lipid metabolism after trauma was in gray matter but, with time, spread radially into white matter.


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