Microparticles in the circulation activate the coagulation system and may activate the complement system via C-reactive protein upon conversion of membrane phospholipids by phospholipases. We developed a sensitive and reproducible method to determine the phospholipid composition of microparticles. Samples were applied to horizontal, one-dimensional high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC). Phospholipids were separated on HPTLC by chloroform:ethyl acetate:acetone:isopropanol:ethanol:methanol:water:acetic acid (30:6:6:6:16:28:6:2); visualized by charring with 7.5% Cu-acetate (w/v), 2.5% CuSO(4) (w/v), and 8% H(3)PO(4) (v/v) in water; and quantified by photodensitometric scanning. Erythrocyte membranes were used to validate the HPTLC system. Microparticles were isolated from plasma of healthy individuals (n = 10). On HPTLC, mixtures of (purified) phospholipids, i.e., lysophosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylcholine (PC), sphingomyelin (SM), lysophosphatidylserine, phosphatidylserine, lysophosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), and phosphatidylinositol, could be separated and quantified. All phospholipids were detectable in erythrocyte ghosts, and their quantities fell within ranges reported earlier. Quantitation of phospholipids, including extraction, was highly reproducible (CV < 10%). Microparticles contained PC (59%), SM (20.6%), and PE (9.4%), with relatively minor (<5%) quantities of other phospholipids. HPTLC can be used to study the phospholipid composition of cell-derived microparticles and may also be a useful technique for the analysis of other samples that are available only in minor quantities.
(C)2002 Elsevier Science (USA).