Modulation of membrane phospholipid fatty acid composition by age and food restriction.
Phospholipids from liver mitochondrial and microsomal membrane preparations were analyzed to further assess the effects of age and lifelong calorie restriction on membrane lipid composition. Results showed that the major phospholipid classes, phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), phosphatidylinositol and cardiolipin did not vary significantly with age or diet. The fatty acid composition of the phospholipids was determined in PC and PE and ages of 6, 12 and 24 months. The data revealed characteristic patterns of age-related changes in ad libitum (AL) fed rats: membrane levels of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, 22:4 and 22:5, increased progressively, while membrane linoleic acid (18:2) decreased steadily with age. Levels of 18:2 fell by approximately 40%, and 22:5 content almost doubled making the peroxidizability index increase with age. In addition, levels of 16:1 and 18:1 decreased significantly with age, indicating a possible change in delta 9-desaturase activity coefficient. Food restriction resulted in a significant increase in levels of essential fatty acids while attenuating levels of 22:4, 22:5, 22:6 and peroxidizability. We concluded that the membrane-stabilizing action of long-term calorie restriction relates to the selective modification of membrane long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids during aging.