Phosphatidylethanolamines in food break down to form phosphatidylethanolamine-linked Amadori products as a part of the Maillard reaction.[12] These products accelerate membrane lipid peroxidation, causing oxidative stress to cells that come in contact with them.[13] Oxidative stress is known to cause food deterioration and several diseases. Significant levels of Amadori-phosphatidylethanolamine products have been found in a wide variety of foods such as chocolatesoybean milkinfant formula, and other processed foods. The levels of Amadori-phosphatidylethanolamine products are higher in foods with high lipid and sugar concentrations that have high temperatures in processing.[12] Additional studies have found that Amadori-phosphatidylethanolamine may play a role in vascular disease,[14] act as the mechanism by which diabetes can increase the incidence of cancer,[15] and potentially play a role in other diseases as well. Amadori-phosphatidylethanolamine has a higher plasma concentration in diabetes patients than healthy people, indicating it may play a role in the development of the disease or be a product of the disease.

Using our current labeling and detection procedure, significant amounts of Amadori-PEs were detectable in infant formula, chocolate, soybean milk, processed foods (infant formula, chocolate, mayonnaise, milk, and soybean milk) contained a significant amount of Amadori-PEs. As these foods have high amounts of sugar and lipids, lipid glycation would occur during heat processing of these products. On the other hand, some foods (cream powder, yogurt, butter, margarine, tea, and coffee) did not contain any Amadori-PEs, probably because of low amounts of sugar or lipids and the relatively low temperatures used during processing of these products. Among the tested food samples, infant formulas have the most Amadori-PEs. The formulas contain PE (0.04–0.09%, w/w), and of this, 9.7–32.8 mol% was detected as the Amadori product. In contrast, human milk did not contain significant amounts of Amadori-PEs. Because the Amadori-PE generates superoxide anions and other reactive oxygen species under the presence of metal ions (11), the high glycation rate found in infant formulas may impair the nutritive value of the products.

National Institutes of Health researchers have identified a naturally occurring lipid—a waxy, fatty acid—used by a disease-causing bacterium to impair the host immune response and increase the chance of infection. Inadvertently, they also may have found a potent inflammation therapy against bacterial and viral diseases.

Lipids are known to help Francisella tularensis bacteria, the cause of tularemia, to suppress host inflammation when infecting mouse and human cells. In a new study published in the Journal of Innate Immunity, researchers from NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases found a form of the lipid phosphatidylethanoloamine, or PE, present in the bacterium. The composition of PE found in F. tularensis differs from PE found in other bacteria. In cell-culture experiments, the researchers discovered that the natural and a synthetic form of PE reduced inflammation caused by both tularemia bacteria and dengue fever virus.

Tularemia is a life-threatening disease spread to humans via contact with an infected animal or through the bite of a mosquito, tick or deer fly. Although tularemia can be successfully treated with antibiotics, it is difficult to diagnose, mainly because F. tularensisbacteria can suppress the human immune response. Dengue fever, primarily spread by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, is rarely fatal but usually leads to a high fever, severe headache and pain throughout the body. There is no specific treatment for dengue fever.