Abnormal membrane fluidity and acetylcholinesterase activity in erythrocytes from insulin-dependent diabetic patients

I. Testa, R. A. Rabini, P. Fumelli, E. Bertoli, L. Mazzanti

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An alteration in the enzymatic properties of the erythrocyte membrane acetylcholinesterase (AchE) and Na+,K+-ATPase has been described in experimental diabetes mellitus. We studied erythrocyte membrane fluidity and AchE and Na+,K+-ATPase activities in 15 insulin-dependent diabetic patients and 11 normal subjects. Fluidity was assessed by fluorescence polarization, using 1,6-diphenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene as a probe, and AcheE and Na+,K+-ATPase activities were measured enzymatically. We found a significant increase in the enzymatic activity of AchE and a change in its enzymatic properties in diabetic patients compared with those in normal subjects. AchE activity correlated inversely with membrane fluorescence polarization, which was decreased in the diabetic patients, indicating an increase in membrane fluidity. Na+,K+-ATPase activity was reduced in the diabetic patients and correlated positively with the fluorescence polarization values. We hypothesize that the abnormal dynamic properties of the erythrocyte membrane may play a major role in determining the described change in enzymatic activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1129-1133
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1988


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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