Decreases in phospholipids containing adrenic and arachidonic acids occur in the human hippocampus over the adult lifespan
One of the biggest risk factors for developing Alzheimer's disease is advanced age. Despite several studies examining changes to phospholipids in the hippocampus during the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, little is known regarding changes to phospholipids in this region during normal adult aging. This study examined the phospholipid composition of the mitochondrial and microsomal membranes of the human hippocampus from post-mortem tissue of neurologically normal subjects aged between 18 and 104 years. Many of the age-related changes found were in low-to-moderately abundant phospholipids in both membrane fractions, with decreases with age being seen in many phospholipids containing either adrenic or arachidonic acid. The most abundant phospholipid of this type was phosphatidylethanolamine 18:0_22:4, which decreased in both the mitochondrial and microsomal membranes by approximately 20 % from ages 20 to 100. Subsequent decreases with age were seen in total adrenic and arachidonic acid in the phospholipids of both membrane fractions, but not in either fatty acid specifically within the phosphatidylethanolamine class. Increases with age were seen in the hippocampus for mitochondrial phosphatidylserine 18:0_22:6. This is the first report of changes to molecular phospholipids of the human hippocampus over the adult lifespan, with this study also providing a comprehensive profile of the phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylserine phospholipids of the human hippocampus.