Sialic acid (SA) content, membrane fluidity, and Na+/K+-adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) activity were determined in erythrocyte membrane from 10 nonpregnant women (HNPW), 16 pregnant women affected by gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), and 25 healthy pregnant women (HPW). In GDM patients the membrane erythrocyte SA content was significantly increased compared with HNPW and membrane fluidity was significantly increased in comparison with HPW. Erythrocyte membrane Na+/K+-ATPase activity was significantly reduced in GDM patients compared both to HNPW and to HPW subjects. A significant inverse correlation was found between 1-(4-trimethylaminophenyl)-6-phenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene (TMA-DPH) anisotropy and erythrocyte membrane SA content in HNPW and in HPW, while this significant correlation was not observed in GDM. The present results indicate that in comparison with normal pregnancy GDM is characterized by deep alterations of the erythrocyte plasma membrane physicochemical properties (increased fluidity) and functional activities (reduced Na+/K+-ATPase activity). These modifications might be at the basis of the altered blood viscosity and placentral perfusion observed under such conditions. Moreover, these results show that in physiological pregnancy and in the nonpregnant state, the erythrocyte surface membrane fluidity is inversely correlated with SA content, while in GDM there is an unbalance of this relation, which might be associated with the microcirculatory abnormality present in this disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism