British Journal of Nutrition

Papers on General Nutrition

Effect of undernutrition on the metabolism of phospholipids and gangliosides in developing rat brain

P. V. Reddya1 and P. S. Sastrya1

a1 Department of Biochemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore-560 012, India


1. Phospholipid content of brains of 3- or 8-week-old undernourished rats was 7–9 % less than that for the corresponding control animals and this deficit could not be made up by rehabilitation. Phosphatidyl ethanolamine and plasmalogen were the components most affected in brains of undernourished rats.

2. Incorporation of 32P into phospholipids by brain homogenates was 28% higher in 3-week-old undernourished rats. It is suggested that enhanced phospholipid metabolism in undernourished animals may be related to behavioural alterations noted previously (Sobotka, Cook & Brodie, 1974).

3. Ganglioside concentrations in 3- and 8-week-old undernourished animals were 14% and 11.5% less respectively than those of the control animals and this difference could be made up by rehabilitation. [14C]Glucosamine incorporation in vivo into brain gangliosides was not affected by undernutrition.

(Received October 26 1977)

(Accepted February 03 1978)