Neurons have a large surface because of their long and thin neurites. This surface is composed of a lipid bilayer. Lipids have not been actively investigated so far because of some technical difficulties, although evidence from cell biology is emerging that lipids contain valuable information about their roles in the central nervous system. Recent progress in techniques, e.g., mass spectrometry, opens a new epoch of lipid research. We show herein the characteristic localization of phospholipid components in neurites by means of time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry. We used explant cultures of mouse superior cervical ganglia, which are widely used by neurite investigation research. In a positive-ion detection mode, phospholipid head group molecules were predominantly detected. The ions of m/z 206.1 [phosphocholine, a common component of phosphatidylcholine (PC) and sphingomyelin (SM)] were evenly distributed throughout the neurites, whereas the ions of m/z 224.1, 246.1 (glycerophosphocholine, a part of PC, but not SM) showed relatively strong intensity on neurites adjacent to soma. In a negative-ion detection mode, fatty acids such as oleic and palmitic acids were mainly detected, showing high intensity on neurites adjacent to soma. Our results suggest that lipid components on the neuritic surface show characteristic distributions depending on neurite region.
- Fatty acid
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Molecular Biology