Composition of long-chain bases in sphingomyelin of the guinea pig Harderian gland

Biochem Cell Biol. 1990 Jan;68(1):154-60. doi: 10.1139/o90-021.


Sphingomyelin from the guinea pig Harderian gland was isolated and characterized. The purified sphingomyelin gave a broad spot on thin-layer chromatography. The fatty acid composition of the whole sphingomyelin was 71% nonhydroxy acids and 29% 2-hydroxy acids. Methyl-branched fatty acids were only 2% of the total acids. The long-chain bases were composed of straight-chain sphingenines (50%) and sphinganines (6%). Methyl-branched long-chain bases were 44% of the bases. The sphingomyelin was further separated into four fractions (I, II, III, IV) by high-performance liquid chromatography. The ratio of fractions I, II, III, and IV was approximately 2:5:2:1, respectively. The fatty acids of fractions I and II consisted of nonhydroxy acids and those of fractions III and IV were 2-hydroxy acids. The long-chain bases of fractions I and III were sphinganines including 10-, 9-, and 8-methylsphinganines and anteiso-sphinganines. These methyl-branched bases occupied about 70% of the total sphinganines. The long-chain bases of fractions II and IV consisted of sphingenines. The methyl-branched unsaturated bases were only 30% of the total sphingenines, all in the anteiso-form. Thus, the sphingomyelin obtained from guinea pig Harderian gland had complex compositions of fatty acids and long-chain bases, and half the number of long-chain bases had methyl branches. The methyl-branched fatty acids were only a minor component. These characteristics are similar to those of cerebrosides isolated from the same source.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Harderian Gland / analysis*
  • Lacrimal Apparatus / analysis*
  • Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase
  • Sphingomyelins* / isolation & purification


  • Fatty Acids
  • Sphingomyelins
  • Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase