Structure of Sphingomyelin:
In sphingomyelin, the base sphingosine has several other groups
attached as shown in the graphic on the left. A fatty acid is
attached to the amine through amide bond. Phosphate is attached
through a phosphate ester bond, and again through a phosphate
ester bond to choline.
The human brain and spinal cord is made up of gray and white
regions. The white region is made of nerve axons wrapped in a
white lipid coating, the myelin sheath, which provides insulation
to allow rapid conduction of electrical signals. Multiple sclerosis
caused by a gradual degradation of the myelin sheath.
Sphingomyleins are located throughout the body in nerve cell
membranes. They make up about 25 % of the lipids in the myelin
sheath that surrounds and insulates cells of the central nervous
Niemann-Pick disease is caused by a deficiency of an enzyme
that breaks down excessive sphingomyelin, which then builds up
on the liver, spleen, brain, and bone marrow. An effected child
usually dies within several years.
|Quiz: List the major parts
of the sphingomyelin in the graphic on the left. What is A? A2?
|What is B?
| What is C and D?