Modifications induced by diabetes on the physicochemical and functional properties of erythrocyte plasma membrane

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

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Increasing evidence suggests that in experimental diabetes an impairment in Na+, K+-ATPase activity plays a central role in the pathophysiology of diabetic complications, while only a few data are available with regard to human subjects. We studied the erythrocyte membrane Na+, K+-ATPase activity and membrane fluidity in insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetic subjects. A significant decrease in the enzyme activity and in fluorescence polarization values was found in both groups compared with normal subjects. Neither Na+, K+-ATPase activity nor membrane fluidity was found to be related to metabolic control, assessed by means of fasting blood glucose levels and HbA1c. On the contrary, a significant correlation was observed between Na+, K+-ATPase activity and membrane fluidity in both insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetic subjects. The present work provides evidence that a reduction in the Na+, K+-ATPase activity is present in the plasma membranes of insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetics. Furthermore, it suggests that the change in enzyme activity might be related to modifications in membrane fluidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-89
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1989


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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