Arachidonic acid is unique amongst human platelet fatty acids in that it is the precursor of prostaglandins and thromboxanes. Since a number of these oxygenated products of arachidonic acid have potent effects on platelet function, an understanding of the metabolsim of their precursor is important. Human platelets have a mechanism for incorporating arachidonic acid from plasma into their phospholipids and, in response to thrombin, they reveal mechanisms for hydrolyzing this arachidonic acid from platelet phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylinositol. This report deals with the specificity of these mechanisms. The present studies show that human platelets contain phospholipase A2 activities that preferentially release arachidonic acid. One of these activities specifically utilizes 1-acyl-2-arachidonyl-phosphatidyl-choline. Another utilizes platelet phosphatidylinositol and/or phosphatidylserine, both of which are highly enriched with arachidonic acid.
T K Bills, J B Smith, M J Silver