Wm. Craig Byrdwell, phd

Resources for Lipid Analysis in the 21st Century

Platelet Activating Factor

Platelet Activating Factor (PAF) is a unique plasmanyl phosphatidylcholine.  It has special cellular activity.  It is known to play roles in many different cellular signaling systems, including: aggregation of neutrophils and platelets, degranulation of platelets, neutrophils, and mast cells, chemotaxis and chemokinesis in neutrophils, increasing bioconstriction, reducing systemic blood pressure, increasing pulmonary resistance, increasing pulmonary hypertension and edema, increasing heart rate, increasing hypertensive responses, increasing vascular permeability, and many others.[1]

  Platelet activating factor is more formally called 1-O-alkyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine.  It has an acetyl group, CH3COO– at the sn-2 position of the glycerol backbone, along with the ether-linked alkanyl group at the sn-1 position.  The masses of Platelet Activating Factor with 14, 16, and 18-carbon alkanyl chains are listed on the ‘PC Alkyl Ethers by Name’ page.


Reference 1:

F. Snyder, “Ether-Linked Lipids and Their Bioactive Species: Occurrence, Chemistry, Metabolism, Regulation and Function”, in D.E. Vance and J. Vance (Eds.) Biochemistry of Lipids, Lipoproteins and Membranes, Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1996