Jan 1, 1976

Lung lecithin biosynthesis in the nonhuman primate fetus: determination of the primary pathway in vivo

Biology of the Neonate
P M FarrellR A Chez


The two pathways for de novo lecithin (phosphatidylcholine) biosynthesis, choline incorporation (1) and phosphatidylethanolamine methylation (II), were examined simultaneously in lung and other tissues of Rhesus monkey fetuses. Cannulation of interplacental fetal vessels permitted studies on the intrauterine fetus without disruption of fetal-placental-maternal-amniotic fluid anatomic integrity. In contrast to observations with indirect techniques in the same species, direct measurement of the incorporation of isotopic precursors (3H-choline and 14C-ethanolamine) into lecithin indicated that pathway I predominates by 100-fold over PE methylation in pulmonary lecithin synthesis. Fetal liver, brain, and kidney also showed 10--70-gold greater choline incorporation that methylation activity. Measurement of lung phosphatidylcholine production via the two pathways in acidemic fetuses (umbilical venous pH less than 7.20) demonstrated marked inhibition of pathway I, but not II. It is concluded that the choline pathway is the major mechanism of lung lecithin synthesis in fetal primates and that this pathway is pH sensitive in vivo.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Biochemical Pathway
Fetal Structures
Entire Fetus
Nonhuman primate
Umbilicus (Anatomy)
Protein Methylation
Amniotic Fluid - Specimen Type
Lecithinum, lecithin, Homeopathic preparation

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