Catalytic hydrogenation of polyunsaturated biological membranes: effects on membrane fatty acid composition and physical properties.

Biochimica et biophysica acta

PubMedID: 9459583

Logue JA, Vigh L, Joó F, Cossins AR. Catalytic hydrogenation of polyunsaturated biological membranes: effects on membrane fatty acid composition and physical properties. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1998;1368(1):41-51.
The relationship between phospholipid saturation and membrane physical structure in a complex, highly polyunsaturated biological membrane (trout liver microsomes) has been studied by the graded and specific hydrogenation of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The homogeneous catalyst Pd(QS)2 caused rapid and effective hydrogenation, increasing the proportion of saturated fatty acids from 20-30% up to 60%, without loss or fragmentation. Long chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids (20:5 omega 3, 22:6 omega 3) were rapidly converted to a large number of partially hydrogenated isomers, and ultimately to the fully saturated C20 or C22 fatty acids. C18 mono- and di-unsaturates showed slower rates of hydrogenation. Increased saturation was closely associated with an increased membrane physical order as determined by the fluorescence anisotropy probe, 1,6-diphenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene. However, extensive hydrogenation led to highly ordered membranes exhibiting a gel-liquid crystalline phase transition between 30 and 60 degrees C. Polyunsaturated membranes can thus be converted into partially or substantially saturated membranes with measurable phase structure without direct alteration of other membrane components. This offers a less equivocal means of assessing the influence of polyunsaturation upon membrane structure and function.