The fluidity of plasma membranes from ethanol-treated rat liver.Mol Cell Biochem. 1984 Sep; 64(1):89-95.MC
Male Wistar rats were maintained for 35-40 days on a liquid diet containing 36% of calories as ethanol. Ethanol was replaced by carbohydrates in the isocaloric diet fed to control animals. The effect of ethanol consumption has been studied on the fluorescence polarization of rat liver plasma membranes and artificial lipid vesicles and on the lipid composition of the membranes. Fluorescence polarization in both membranes and vesicles was determined using DPH and TMA-DPH as fluorescence markers; from these data, the polarization term (ro/r-l)-1 and flow activation energy (delta E) were calculated. The ethanol consumption induces a more fluid environment within the membrane core of liver plasma membranes; the ethanol-fed rat membranes are more resistant to the in vitro effect of ethanol disordering the membrane structure. Vesicles obtained with lipids from either control membranes or ethanol-fed rat membranes were treated with ethanol and the changes in polarization paralleled to those exhibited by the membranes. The absence of phase transitions and of delta E changes was also shown in temperature-dependence studies. The lower cholesterol content found in ethanol-fed rat plasma membranes might be responsible for observed variations in the microviscosity.