The synthesis and turnover of cerebrosides and phospholipids was followed in microsomal and myelin fractions of developing and adult rat brains after an intracerebral injection of [U-14C]serine. The kinetics of incorporation of radioactivity into microsomal and myelin cerebrosides indicate the possibility of a precursor-product relationship between cerebrosides of these membranes. The specific radioactivity of myelin cerebrosides was corrected for the deposition of newly formed cerebrosides in myelin. Multiphasic curves were obtained for the decline in specific radioactivity of myelin and microsomal cerebrosides, suggesting different cerebroside pools in these membranes. The half-life of the fast turning-over pool of cerebrosides of myelin was 7 and 22 days for the developing and adult rat brain respectively. The half-life of the slowly turning-over pool of myelin cerebrosides was about 145 days for both groups of animals. The half-life of the rapidly turning-over microsomal cerebrosides was calculated to be 20 and 40 h for the developing and adult animals respectively. The half-life of the intermediate and slowly turning-over microsomal cerebrosides was 11 and 60 days respectively, for both groups of animals. The amount of incorporation of radioactivity into microsomal cerebrosides from L-serine was greatly decreased in the adult animals, and greater amounts of the precursor were directed towards the synthesis of phosphatidylserine. In the developing animals, considerable amounts of cerebrosides were synthesized from L-serine, besides phosphatidylserine. The time-course of incorporation indicated that a precursor-product relationship exists between microsomal and myelin phosphatidylserine. The half-life of microsomal phosphatidylserine was calculated to be about 8 h for the fast turning-over pool in both groups of animals.

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