Plasmalogens and Alzheimer's disease: A review

Xiao Q. Su, Junming Wang, Andrew J. Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Growing evidence suggests that ethanolamine plasmalogens (PlsEtns), a subtype of phospholipids, have a close association with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Decreased levels of PlsEtns have been commonly found in AD patients, and were correlated with cognition deficit and severity of disease. Limited studies showed positive therapeutic outcomes with plasmalogens interventions in AD subjects and in rodents. The potential mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of PlsEtns on AD may be related to the reduction of γ-secretase activity, an enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of β-amyloid (Aβ), a hallmark of AD. Emerging in vitro evidence also showed that PlsEtns prevented neuronal cell death by enhancing phosphorylation of AKT and ERK signaling through the activation of orphan G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) proteins. In addition, PlsEtns have been found to suppress the death of primary mouse hippocampal neuronal cells through the inhibition of caspase-9 and caspase-3 cleavages. Further in-depth investigations are required to determine the signature molecular species of PlsEtns associated with AD, hence their potential role as biomarkers. Clinical intervention with plasmalogens is still in its infancy but may have the potential to be explored for a novel therapeutic approach to correct AD pathology and neural function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100
Number of pages10
JournalLipids in Health and Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2019


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Biomarker
  • Mechanisms of action
  • Plasmalogens
  • Therapeutic efficacy

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