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Concept: Lecithin


The effects of integrative medicine practices such as meditation and Ayurveda on human physiology are not fully understood. The aim of this study was to identify altered metabolomic profiles following an Ayurveda-based intervention. In the experimental group, 65 healthy male and female subjects participated in a 6-day Panchakarma-based Ayurvedic intervention which included herbs, vegetarian diet, meditation, yoga, and massage. A set of 12 plasma phosphatidylcholines decreased (adjusted p < 0.01) post-intervention in the experimental (n = 65) compared to control group (n = 54) after Bonferroni correction for multiple testing; within these compounds, the phosphatidylcholine with the greatest decrease in abundance was PC ae C36:4 (delta = -0.34). Application of a 10% FDR revealed an additional 57 metabolites that were differentially abundant between groups. Pathway analysis suggests that the intervention results in changes in metabolites across many pathways such as phospholipid biosynthesis, choline metabolism, and lipoprotein metabolism. The observed plasma metabolomic alterations may reflect a Panchakarma-induced modulation of metabotypes. Panchakarma promoted statistically significant changes in plasma levels of phosphatidylcholines, sphingomyelins and others in just 6 days. Forthcoming studies that integrate metabolomics with genomic, microbiome and physiological parameters may facilitate a broader systems-level understanding and mechanistic insights into these integrative practices that are employed to promote health and well-being.

Concepts: Choline, Proteomics, Lecithin, Phosphatidylcholine, Metabolomics, Medicine, Metabolism, Ayurveda


In this data article we provide topologies and force field parameters files for molecular dynamics simulations of lipids in the OPLS-aa force field using the GROMACS package. This is the first systematic parameterization of lipid molecules in this force field. Topologies are provided for four phosphatidylcholines: saturated DPPC, mono-cis unsaturated POPC and DOPC, and mono-trans unsaturated PEPC. Parameterization of the phosphatidylcholines was achieved in two steps: first, we supplemented the OPLS force field parameters for DPPC with new parameters for torsion angles and van der Waals parameters for the carbon and hydrogen atoms in the acyl chains, as well as new partial atomic charges and parameters for torsion angles in the phosphatidylcholine and glycerol moieties [1]. Next, we derived parameters for the cis and trans double bonds and the neighboring them single bonds [2]. Additionally, we provide GROMACS input files with parameters describing simulation conditions (md.mdp), which are strongly recommended to be used with these lipids models. The data are associated with the research article “Cis and trans unsaturated phosphatidylcholine bilayers: a molecular dynamics simulation study” [2] and provided as supporting materials.

Concepts: Lipid bilayer, GROMACS, OPLS, Lipid, Lecithin, Chemical bond, Atom, Molecular dynamics


The 1968 American Heart Association announced a dietary recommendation that all individuals consume less than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day and no more than three whole eggs per week. This recommendation has not only significantly impacted the dietary patterns of the population, but also resulted in the public limiting a highly nutritious and affordable source of high quality nutrients, including choline which was limited in the diets of most individuals. The egg industry addressed the egg issue with research documenting the minimal effect of egg intake on plasma lipoprotein levels, as well as research verifying the importance of egg nutrients in a variety of issues related to health promotion. In 2015 dietary cholesterol and egg restrictions have been dropped by most health promotion agencies worldwide and recommended to be dropped from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Concepts: The Egg, Cholesterol, Health, Lecithin, Egg, Essential amino acid, Essential nutrient, Nutrition


We recently demonstrated that daily whole egg consumption during moderate carbohydrate restriction leads to greater increases in plasma HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) and improvements in HDL profiles in metabolic syndrome (MetS) when compared to intake of a yolk-free egg substitute. We further investigated the effects of this intervention on HDL composition and function, hypothesizing that the phospholipid species present in egg yolk modulate HDL lipid composition to increase the cholesterol-accepting capacity of subject serum. Men and women classified with MetS were randomly assigned to consume either three whole eggs (EGG, n = 20) per day or the equivalent amount of egg substitute (SUB, n = 17) throughout a 12-week moderate carbohydrate-restricted (25-30 % of energy) diet. Relative to other HDL lipids, HDL-cholesteryl ester content increased in all subjects, with greater increases in the SUB group. Further, HDL-triacylglycerol content was reduced in EGG group subjects with normal baseline plasma HDL-C, resulting in increases in HDL-CE/TAG ratios in both groups. Phospholipid analysis by mass spectrometry revealed that HDL became enriched in phosphatidylethanolamine in the EGG group, and that EGG group HDL better reflected sphingomyelin species present in the whole egg product at week 12 compared to baseline. Further, macrophage cholesterol efflux to EGG subject serum increased from baseline to week 12, whereas no changes were observed in the SUB group. Together, these findings suggest that daily egg consumption promotes favorable shifts in HDL lipid composition and function beyond increasing plasma HDL-C in MetS.

Concepts: Egg, Metabolism, Lipid, Lipid bilayer, Egg yolk, Nutrition, Cholesterol, Lecithin


Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is the major membrane-forming phospholipid in eukaryotes and is estimated to be present in about 15% of the domain Bacteria. Usually, PC can be synthesized in bacteria by either of two pathways, the phospholipid N-methylation (Pmt) pathway or the phosphatidylcholine synthase (Pcs) pathway. The three subsequent enzymatic methylations of phosphatidylethanolamine are performed by a single phospholipid N-methyltransferase in some bacteria whereas other bacteria possess multiple phospholipid N-methyltransferases each one performing one or several distinct methylation steps. Phosphatidylcholine synthase condenses choline directly with CDP-diacylglycerol to form CMP and PC. Like in eukaryotes, bacterial PC also functions as a biosynthetic intermediate during the formation of other biomolecules such as choline, diacylglycerol, or diacylglycerol-based phosphorus-free membrane lipids. Bacterial PC may serve as a specific recognition molecule but it affects the physicochemical properties of bacterial membranes as well. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Phospholipids and Phospholipid Metabolism.

Concepts: Amino acid, DNA, Phosphatidylcholine, Organism, Lecithin, Cell membrane, Bacteria, Metabolism


The former use of chlordecone (CLD) in the French West Indies has resulted in long-term pollution of soils and of food chains. CLD may be transferred into eggs of hens reared outdoors, through polluted soil ingestion. Tropical volcanic soils display variable capacities of pollutant retention: CLD is less available and more persistent in andosol than in nitisol. The impact of soil type on CLD bioavailability to hens was tested through a relative bioavailability study. The deposition of CLD in egg yolk and in abdominal fat was measured in 42 individually housed laying hens fed with diets containing graded levels of CLD from polluted andosol, nitisol, or spiked oil during 23 days. Within each ingested matrix, the concentration of CLD in yolk and in abdominal fat linearly increased with the amount of ingested CLD (P < 0.001). However, the response to andosol diets and to nitisol diets was not different from the response to oil diets (P > 0.1), indicating that CLD was equally bioavailable to laying hens, irrespective of the matrix. This suggests that the hen’s gastrointestinal tract efficiently extracts CLD from the two tropical volcanic soils, regardless of their retention capacity. Thus, hens reared on polluted soils with CLD may lay contaminated eggs.

Concepts: Egg white, Digestive system, Lecithin, Egg yolk, Hen, Pollution, Egg, Chicken


Commercial lecithins are composed mainly of phospholipids and triacylglycerols. The analysis of the commercial lecithins, including their fraction of phospholipids, normally involves laborious and expensive protocols. Easy ambient sonic-spray ionization mass spectrometry (EASI-MS) is shown to be an efficient technique for the analysis of lipids. Samples of commercial lecithins including standards, refined, deoiled and modified soy lecithin were tested. Characteristic profiles of phosphatidylcholines and triacylglycerols are detected by EASI(+)-MS, whereas EASI(-)-MS provided phosphatidylethanolamines, glycophospholipids and free fatty acids profiles. Acetylated lecithins also displayed characteristic acetylated derivatives. EASI-MS data was also compared to MALDI-MS, and found to display richer compositional information. The industrial process applied to lecithin fabrication was also characterised via typical EASI-MS profiles. EASI-MS both in its positive and negative ion modes offers a direct, fast and efficient technique able to characterise commercial lecithin.

Concepts: Theodore Nicolas Gobley, Phosphatidylcholine, Phosphatidylethanolamine, Cholesterol, Lipid, Phospholipid, Fatty acid, Lecithin


Maintaining proper membrane phase and fluidity is important for preserving membrane structure and function, and by altering membrane lipid composition many organisms can adapt to changing environmental conditions. We compared the phospholipid and cholesterol composition of liver and brain plasma membranes in the freeze-tolerant wood frog, Rana sylvatica, from southern Ohio and Interior Alaska during summer, fall, and winter. We also compared membranes from winter-acclimatized frogs from Ohio that were either acclimated to 0, 4, or 10 °C, or frozen to -2.5 °C and sampled before or after thawing. Lipids were extracted from isolated membranes, separated by one-dimensional thin-layer chromatography, and analyzed via densitometry. Liver membranes underwent seasonal changes in phospholipid composition and lipid ratios, including a winter increase in phosphatidylethanolamine, which serves to increase fluidity. However, whereas Ohioan frogs decreased phosphatidylcholine and increased sphingomyelin, Alaskan frogs only decreased phosphatidylserine, indicating that these phenotypes use different adaptive strategies to meet the functional needs of their membranes. Liver membranes showed no seasonal variation in cholesterol abundance, though membranes from Alaskan frogs contained relatively less cholesterol, consistent with the need for greater fluidity in a colder environment. No lipid changed seasonally in brain membranes in either population. In the thermal acclimation experiment, cold exposure induced an increase in phosphatidylethanolamine in liver membranes and a decrease in cholesterol in brain membranes. No changes occurred during freezing and thawing in membranes from either organ. Wood frogs use tissue-specific membrane adaptation of phospholipids and cholesterol to respond to changing environmental factors, particularly temperature, though not with freezing.

Concepts: Phosphatidylethanolamine, Wood Frog, Cholesterol, Season, Lecithin, Lipid bilayer, Phospholipid, Cell membrane


Egg yolk low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and soybean lecithin were evaluated as replacements for egg yolk in extenders used for the cryopreservation of brown-bear spermatozoa. The motility, viability and acrosomal status of post-thawed spermatozoa were analysed, and an egg-yolk extender was used as a control. The total antioxidant capacity of these extenders was tested. Soybean lecithin showed an effect that was dependent on the soybean concentration (2%, 3.5% and 5%) and source (Type A: 24% -α-phosphatidylcholine, and Type B: 14-23% -α-phosphatidylcholine). Only semen cryopreserved with 5% Type A soybean exhibited a sperm motility similar to that of semen cryopreserved in egg-yolk-based extender after thawing, although the sperm viability and acrosome status were not as high. Semen frozen in an extender containing LDL (10-15%) exhibited improved sperm viability in comparison with the control, but sperm motility was lower. The LDL-based extender exhibited a higher anti-oxidant activity than the egg-yolk extender and soy lecithin-based extenders. The extenders with higher anti-oxidant activity showed improvements in frozen sperm viability but lower semen motility. These results indicate that soybean lecithin did not have the same protective effect as egg yolk during the freezing of brown-bear spermatozoa but suggest that LDL (10-15%) could be a useful substitute for egg yolk in these extenders.

Concepts: Spermatozoon, Lutein, Lecithin, Sperm, Antioxidant, Egg, Egg yolk, Cholesterol


This work reports an efficient and universal SPE method developed for separation and identification of phospholipids derived from complex biological samples. For the separation step, sequential combination of silica gel-aminopropyl-silica gel SPE cartridges is applied. This setup enables separation of phosphatidylcholine, lysophosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidic acid, phosphatidylinositol, phosphatidylserine, cardiolipin, and sphingomyelin into four fractions according to the polarity of their headgroups. Sample acquisition of the SPE fractions is performed by a high-resolution LC-MS system consisting of a hybrid linear IT Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer coupled to RP-HPLC. The unequivocal advantage of our SPE sample preparation setup is avoidance of analyte peak overlapping in the determination step done by RP-HPLC. Overlapping phospholipid signals would otherwise exert adverse ion suppression effects. An additional benefit of this method is the elimination of polar and nonpolar (e.g. neutral lipids) contaminants from the phospholipid fractions, which highly reduces contamination of the LC-MS system. The method was validated with fermentation samples of organic waste, where 78 distinct phospholipid and sphingomyelin species belonging to six lipid classes were successfully identified.

Concepts: Lipid, Ion cyclotron resonance, Fourier transform, Phosphatidic acid, Lecithin, Phospholipids, Phosphatidylcholine, Phospholipid