Several plasma membrane alterations have been described in diabetes mellitus. Data reported in gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) suggested that these alterations might be present before the onset of overt metabolic derangement. On the basis of these data it is tempting to hypothesize that the reduction in the sodium pump activity might be due to a genetic factor acting at the membrane level before the onset of diabetes. In order to verify this hypothesis 11 insulin-dependent diabetic patients, 15 first degree relatives of the patients and 10 healthy subjects with a negative family history for diabetes mellitus were studied. Fluidity, Na+/K(+)-ATPase activity and membrane cholesterol content (C) were evaluated on plasma membranes obtained from red blood cells (RBCs). Na+/K(+)-ATPase activity was reduced with a contemporary increase in membrane fluidity in RBCs from IDDM patients in comparison to either relatives and controls. The same alterations were observed also in RBCs from the relatives in comparison to controls. We did not find any significant difference in the C content among the three groups. Data herein reported provide evidence that a reduction in the Na+/K(+)-ATPase activity is present in the plasma membrane of relatives of diabetic subjects. Furthermore, the present work suggests that the change in enzymatic activity might be related to modifications in membrane fluidity.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - 1993|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Internal Medicine