Developmental changes in synaptic membrane lipid composition and fluidity

Robert J. Hitzemann, David A. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Synaptic membrane enriched fractions were prepared from 7 and 14 day and adult cortical nerve endings. (a) The levels of synaptic membrane phosphatidylcholine decrease 19% during development while the levels of ethanolamine phosphoglycerides increase 21%. (b) On day 7, desmosterol accounts for 33% of the total membrane sterols. With maturity, the desmosterol disappears and the molar sterol/lipid P ratio increases 56%. (c) The fatty acid composition of the membranes change during development. 16:0 decreases 36% while 18:1 increases 49%. 16:1, a minor component of adult membranes, is found in significant quantities in pup membranes. 22:6 (n-3) increases 34% during development while 22:5 (n-6) decreases 59%. (d) The microviscosity of synaptic membranes, as measured by the fluorescence depolarization technique, increases during development. This effect is observed in both intact membranes and bilayers prepared from lipid extracts of the membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-131
Number of pages11
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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