Ether glycerophospholipids (GPLs) are a subclass of phospholipids, chemically characterized by the existence of an ether bond
within the lipid molecules. Because ether GPLs are membrane structure components, they act as the wide-like resistance to membrane
oxidation induced by chemical hypoxia and reactive oxygen species. The abnormal biosynthesis of ether GPLs in humans leads to the decreased
supply of the critical lipids to various human cells, resulting in the alteration of the membrane lipid composition. Recent studies
demonstrated that the level of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – containing ether molecular species of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and
phosphatidylcholine (PC) in the Alzheimer’s brain significantly decreased. On the other hand, the deficiency of DHA and plateletactivating
factor in human sperm causes infertility in men. We propose that the supplementation of DHA ether molecular species of
GPLs may prevent and treat brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and autism, and infertility. The present review describes (1)
procedures for the semi–synthesis of DHA – containing ether molecular species of PC and PE; (2) mass spectrometric methods for structurally
identifying the lipids; (3) potential of DHA plasmanycholine species as lipid drugs for preventing and treating brain diseases and
infertility; and (4) recommendation of marine oysters, monkfish liver and scallops based seafoods as DHA ether GPLs supplementation
for the medical application.
Keywords: Ether glycerophospholipids, docosahexaenoic acid, molecular nutrition, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, infertility.
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