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Altered fatty acid metabolism and composition in cultured astrocytes under hyperammonemic conditions


Gottschalk,  S
Department High-Field Magnetic Resonance, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Gottschalk, S. (2009). Altered fatty acid metabolism and composition in cultured astrocytes under hyperammonemic conditions. Journal of Neurochemistry, 108(Supplement 1), 258–264. doi:10.1111/j.1471-4159.2009.05985.x.

n vitro1H- and 13C-NMR spectroscopy was used to investigate the effect of ammonia on fatty acid synthesis and composition in cultured astrocytes. Cells were incubated 3 and 24 h with 5 mM ammonia in the presence or absence of the glutamine synthetase inhibitor methionine sulfoximine. An increase of de novo synthesized fatty acids and the glycerol subunit of lipids was observed after 3 h treatment with ammonia (35 and 40 over control, respectively), the initial time point examined. Both parameters further increased significantly to 85 and 60 over control after 24 h ammonia treatment. Three hours incubation with ammonia increased the synthesis of diacylglycerides, while formation of triacylglycerides was decreased (40 over and 15 under control, respectively). The degradation of fatty acids was not affected by ammonia treatment. Furthermore, ammonia caused alterations in the composition of fatty acids, e.g. increased mono- and decreased polyunsaturated fatty acids (85 over and 15 under control concentrations, respectively). The decrease of polyunsaturated fatty acids was even more pronounced in isolated astrocytic mitochondria (39 lower than controls). Our results suggest ammonia-induced abnormalities in astrocytic membranes, which may be related to astrocytic mitochondrial dysfunction in hyperammonemic states. Most of the observed effects of ammonia on fatty acid synthesis and composition were ameliorated when glutamine synthetase was inhibited by methionine sulfoximine, supporting a pathological role of glutamine in ammonia toxicity. This study further emphasizes the importance of investigating the relative contribution of exogenous ammonia, effects of glutamine and of glutamine-derived ammonia on astrocytes and astrocytic mitochondria.