Major mitochondrial phospholipids were examined in rat brain after 30 minutes of reperfusion following 30- or 60-minute periods of ischemia to examine their changes and explore their relationship to mitochondrial dysfunction during postischemic reperfusion. The amount of phospholipids and the percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acid chains, which tended to decrease during 30 minutes of ischemia, recovered after reperfusion. However, after ischemia lasting for 60 minutes, these parameters did not recover but decreased further, suggesting progressive disruption of phospholipids by phospholipase A2 after reperfusion. These changes were particularly notable in cardiolipin, which is contained specifically in mitochondria. The changes were also closely associated with mitochondrial respiration and respiratory enzyme (cytochrome c oxidase and F0F1-adenosine triphosphatase) activities, which have been known to correlate with the amount of cardiolipin. These results suggest that phospholipid metabolism in mitochondrial membranes is an important factor bearing on the integrity of energy metabolism during postischemic reperfusion.
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