Letter | Published:

Fatty Acids of Beef Heart Sphingomyelin

Nature volume 204, pages 782783 (21 November 1964) | Download Citation



A CERAMIDE lactoside, synthesized to approximate to the structure of the tumour hapten cytolipin H1, was reported2 to have a melting point of 86° C, which appeared low for a cerebroside analogue. A 25-mg sample was absorbed on 7 g silicic acid : ‘Celite’ (5 : 2) in chloroform, and eluted with increasing methanol concentrations in chloroform. At 5 per cent methanol, about 2 mg of ceramide (m.p. 84°–86° C) was obtained, while the bulk of the material, recovered at 30 per cent methanol, had an infra-red spectrum identical to that of the original material, and a melting point of 167°–170° C (measured on a Kohfler micro-hot stage). Under the same conditions, authentic cytolipin H melted at 174°–183° C. At this point, it appeared that the original sample had contained about 10 per cent ceramide (by weight), a contaminant which could not be detected in the infra-red spectrum at that concentration. But the differences in the new melting points could be accounted for by differences in the fatty acids residues of both compounds. A preliminary attempt at the identification of the fatty acid residues of the ceramide lactoside indicated that lignoceric acid (C24, tetracosanoic acid) made up only one-third of the total fatty acids residues, while another one-third was made up on some odd-number saturated fatty acid. It was, therefore, of interest to determine the components of the fatty acid mixture in the sphingomyelin from which the ceramide was prepared for the synthesis of ceramide lactoside.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    , , , and , Cancer, 12 (3), 438 (1959).

  2. 2.

    , , and , Nature, 107, 1074 (1963).

  3. 3.

    , , and , J. Dairy Res., 26, 190 (1959).

  4. 4.

    , and , J. Biol. Chem., 172, 141 (1948).

Download references

Author information


  1. General Medical Research Department, Veterans Administration Hospital, and the Departments of Biochemistry and Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, Texas.

    • A. C. SCHRAM
    • , R. H. WILSON
    • , A. P. BOER
    •  & V. E. DOTY


  1. Search for A. C. SCHRAM in:

  2. Search for R. H. WILSON in:

  3. Search for A. P. BOER in:

  4. Search for V. E. DOTY in:

About this article

Publication history





By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.