The phospholipid composition and the molecular species of the major subclasses of ethanolamine and choline glycerophospholipids were determined during the natural or oestradiol-induced development of the quail oviduct. The phospholipid concentration increased significantly during oviduct development, and the proportion of ethanolamine glycerophospholipids (EPL) remained constant while that of choline glycerophospholipids increased. The immature oviduct contained the majority of its endogenous arachidonic acid mass (71%) in EPL, mainly in alkenylacyl-glycerophosphoethanolamine (alkenylacyl-GPE) (49% of the total). Oestrogen treatment induced the depletion of 20:4,n-6 specifically from this pool, which indicates the biological importance of 20:4,n-6 molecular species in alkenylacyl-GPE as substrates for the oviduct phospholipases activated by oestradiol, and suggests that this EPL subclass is involved in the oestrogen-induced cell proliferation. Another striking result was the marked increase in 22:6,n-3 EPL molecular species following the oestradiol treatment and more particularly the strict substitution of 20:4,n-6 by 22:6,n-3 in alkenylacyl-GPE. We speculate that alkenylacyl-GPE molecular species containing 22:6,n-3 may participate in the arrest of oestrogen-induced proliferation.
- © 1994 The Biochemical Society, London