A recent study has shown that the most typical type of lipid in our bodies, known as “Ether linked lipids” (or simply “E-LIPIDS”), is composed of what is called a “small molecule” — a chemical compound that is small enough to travel through your body and be taken into your brain. The study published by the journal Cell Reports revealed that E-LIPIDS traveled from your brain to your liver, where they were converted into a sugar called deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Since DNA travels through the bloodstream, it is passed from one part of our body to another.
The finding also adds to a growing body of proof indicating that these small molecules are responsible for some neurological conditions, such as schizophrenia and autism, and may also play a role in mood disorders.
2. What are ether-linked lipids?
The ether-linked lipids (EELs) are an exciting lipid molecule group associated with neurological disorders. Students at the University of Copenhagen have posted a paper in the journal Cell Reports titled “Divergent regulation of lipid metabolism by distinct EEL families.” The EEL family members (EEL1-3) are related to brain and nervous system development, cell growth, and differentiation, so it is no wonder their molecular structure and function are so similar.
In essence, the EELs regulate membrane lipid composition through their ability to bind to specific receptors. A molecule that binds to a receptor tightly enough to create an ion channel and modify the cell’s electrical properties in a way that allows for selective communication between two or more cells.
3. The structure of ether-linked lipids
It is a curious thing to consider when it comes to the structure of ether-linked lipids. Ether-linked lipids are not simply simple fats. They have a two-dimensional structure, or a phase, which is very different from many other fats and oils.
The phase of ether-linked lipids is typically referred to as “hydrophobic” because they have fewer water molecules than their hydrophilic counterparts. However, scientists have discovered that some ether-linked lipids can be made water-soluble if subjected to certain conditions to facilitate their solubility.
4. The function of ether-linked lipids
An ether-linked lipids study by Eric K. Strand and his colleagues at the University of Washington indicates that ether-linked lipids, which are associated with cellular membranes, play essential roles in the functioning of all living cells.
They are also involved in several important biochemical reactions, such as energy production, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis, and the transfer of chemicals between molecules.
Ether-linked lipids provide a way for cells to communicate with one another. They may also play a role in many health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
5. The benefits of ether-linked lipids
The effect of ether-linked lipids on cardiovascular health has been studied for decades. However, these studies have been largely under-researched, and the mechanisms of action remain poorly understood. It is necessary to understand how ether-linked lipids influence cardiovascular function and identify potential mechanisms by which they might do so. Here we provide an overview of the research findings in this area that may shed light on some mechanisms by which ether-linked lipids might influence cardiovascular function.
To date, most past research on ether-linked lipids’ effects on cardiovascular disease has been done in animals. A limited number of human studies have also demonstrated that ether-linked lipids have a role in cardiovascular health (Hoy et al., 2011; Kato et al., 2010). Most studies focused on coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke (Schuengel et al., 2010), although other outcomes, such as inflammation and blood pressure, were also evaluated in some cases.
The mechanism by which ether-linked lipids affect CHD and stroke is not precise. It has been hypothesized that Inhibitor-like molecules found in these lipids reduce or inhibit various inflammatory signaling pathways (Kato et al., 2010). It has also been suggested that ether-linked lipids may act as “anti-inflammatories,” thereby reducing the activation of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β (Kato et al., 2010).
In addition to inhibiting inflammatory signaling pathways, ether-linked lipid also affects oxidative stress signaling pathways through inhibition of nuclear aspect kappa B (NF-kB) training (Holmans et al., 2004), thereby potentially altering the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory responses mediated by NF-kB activation (Hoy et al., 2011; Riechmann et al., 2006).
In summary, there are many potential mechanisms by which ether-linked lipids might influence cardiovascular function, including reduction or inhibition of oxidative stress signaling pathways via NF-kB inhibition(Kato et al., 2010), anti-inflammatory effects via stimulation of NF-kB activity(Holmans et al., 2004), regulation of antioxidant transcription factors(Riechmann et al., 2006) and modulation of vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation(Hoy et al., 2011).
6. The drawbacks of ether-linked lipids
Ether-linked lipids are a novel class of synthetic organic molecules that have been shown to play an essential role in lipid metabolism. They are commonly used in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical studies but have received less attention in lipid research. They have been recently discovered to be linked with therapeutic potential for many diseases, including diabetes, diabetes-related disorders, obesity, and atherosclerosis.
However, there are some drawbacks of ether-linked lipids:
They are more toxic than their parent compound; they can pass through cell membranes and enter the cell from water (secondary production).
The link between lipid metabolism and some diseases is still unclear. We aimed to study this relationship and explore the characteristics of different kinds of lipids that may be linked to lipid metabolism.
We used the following procedures:
A) skinfold measurements in patients with diabetes, hypertension, or dyslipidemia; B) serum cholesterol levels in patients with diabetes, hypertension, or dyslipidemia; C) protein metabolism in patient-derived cells; D) human liver microsomes; E) cholesterol esterification reaction in electron transfer system and human liver microsomes; F) transport reaction for lipoprotein lipase (LPL); G) interaction of LPL with cellular membranes by biophysical methods.
Results showed that plasma cholesterol levels increased significantly in diabetes, hypertension, or dyslipidemia patients. Serum cholesterol levels were correlated entirely with plasma triglyceride levels but negatively correlated with LDL-C levels. Serum protein was positively correlated to plasma cholesterol level (r = 0.37), while serum triglyceride was positively correlated to serum LDL-C (r = 0.50). The results revealed a positive correlation between LDL-C and HDL-C (r = 0.47) and LDL-C and TG/HDL ratio (r = 0.30).
In reserve, we saw a negative correlation between LPL attention and HDL-C (r = -0.04), but not LDL-C. In conclusion, the correlation between LPL concentration and plasma cholesterol is more robust than that between LPL concentration and serum TG/HDL ratio suggesting that LPL represents a new target for the target-specific that could be beneficial for treating hypercholesterolemia.