Mass spectrometric analysis reveals changes in phospholipid, neutral sphingolipid and sulfatide molecular species in progressive epilepsy with mental retardation, EPMR, brain: a case study

J Neurochem. 2005 Nov;95(3):609-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2005.03376.x. Epub 2005 Aug 8.


Progressive epilepsy with mental retardation, EPMR, belongs to a group of inherited neurodegenerative disorders, the neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses. The CLN8 gene that underlies EPMR encodes a novel transmembrane protein that localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and ER-Golgi intermediate compartment. Recently, CLN8 was linked to a large eukaryotic protein family of TLC (TRAM, Lag1, CLN8) domain homologues with postulated functions in lipid synthesis, transport or sensing. By using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry we analysed molecular species of major phosholipid and simple sphingolipid classes from cerebral samples of two EPMR patients representing a progressive and advanced state of the disease. The progressive state brain showed reduced levels of ceramide, galactosyl- and lactosylceramide and sulfatide as well as a decrease in long fatty acyl chain containing molecular species within these classes. Among glycerophospholipid classes, an increase in species containing polyunsaturated acyl chains was detected especially in phosphatidylserines and phosphatidylethanolamines. By contrast, saturated and monounsaturated species were overrepresented among phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylinositol classes in the advanced state sample. The observed changes in brain sphingo- and phospholipid molecular profiles may result in altered membrane stability, lipid peroxidation, vesicular trafficking or neurotransmission and thus may contribute to the progression of the molecular pathogenesis of EPMR.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Epilepsy / genetics
  • Epilepsy / metabolism
  • Epilepsy / pathology
  • Galactosylceramides / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics
  • Intellectual Disability / metabolism
  • Intellectual Disability / pathology
  • Lactosylceramides / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinoses / genetics
  • Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinoses / metabolism*
  • Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinoses / pathology
  • Neutral Glycosphingolipids / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines / metabolism*
  • Phosphatidylserines / metabolism
  • Sphingomyelins / metabolism*
  • Sulfoglycosphingolipids / metabolism*


  • Antigens, CD
  • CLN8 protein, human
  • Galactosylceramides
  • Lactosylceramides
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Neutral Glycosphingolipids
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines
  • Phosphatidylserines
  • Sphingomyelins
  • Sulfoglycosphingolipids
  • CDw17 antigen
  • Cholesterol