Human prefrontal cortex phospholipids containing docosahexaenoic acid increase during normal adult aging, whereas those containing arachidonic acid decrease
Membrane phospholipids make up a substantial portion of the human brain, and changes in their amount and composition are thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of age-related neurodegenerative disease. Nevertheless, little is known about the changes that phospholipids undergo during normal adult aging. This study examined changes in phospholipid composition in the mitochondrial and microsomal membranes of human dorsolateral prefrontal cortex over the adult life span. The largest age-related changes were an increase in the abundance of both mitochondrial and microsomal phosphatidylserine 18:0_22:6 by approximately one-third from age 20 to 100 years and a 25% decrease in mitochondrial phosphatidylethanolamine 18:0_20:4. Generally, increases were seen with age in phospholipids containing docosahexaenoic acid across both membrane fractions, whereas phospholipids containing either arachidonic or adrenic acid decreased with age. These findings suggest a gradual change in membrane lipid composition over the adult life span.