Evidence for altered cell membrane lipid composition in postmortem prefrontal white matter in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Brain imaging suggests that white matter abnormalities, including compromised white matter integrity in the frontal lobe, are shared across bipolar disorder (BD) and schizophrenia (SCZ). However, the precise molecular and cellular correlates remain to be elucidated. Given evidence for widespread alterations in cell membrane lipid composition in both disorders, we sought to investigate whether lipid composition is disturbed in frontal white matter in SCZ and BD. The phospholipids phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylcholine (PC) were quantified in white matter adjacent to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in subjects with BD (n = 34), SCZ (n = 35), and non-psychiatric controls (n = 35) using high-pressure liquid chromatography. Individual fatty acid species and plasmalogens were then quantified separately in PE and PC fractions by gas liquid chromatography. PC was significantly lower in the BD group, compared to controls. The fatty acids PE22:0, PE24:1 and PE20:2n6 were higher, and PC20:4n6, PE22:5n6 and PC22:5n6 lower in the BD group, relative to the control group. PE22:1 was higher and PC20:3n6, PE22:5n6 and PC22:5n6 lower in the SCZ group, compared to the control group. These data provide evidence for altered lipid composition in white matter in both BD and SCZ.
Changes in white matter lipid composition could ultimately contribute to dysfunction of frontal white matter circuits in SCZ and BD.