, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 179–184

The influence of dietary lipids on the composition and membrane fluidity of rat hepatocyte plasma membrane


  • A. G. Clamp
    • Department of Human NutritionUniversity of Southampton
  • S. Ladha
    • Institute of Food ResearchNorwich Laboratory
  • D. C. Clark
    • Institute of Food ResearchNorwich Laboratory
  • R. F. Grimble
    • Department of Human NutritionUniversity of Southampton
  • E. K. Lund
    • Institute of Food ResearchNorwich Laboratory

DOI: 10.1007/s11745-997-0022-3

Cite this article as:
Clamp, A.G., Ladha, S., Clark, D.C. et al. Lipids (1997) 32: 179. doi:10.1007/s11745-997-0022-3


Weanling male Wistar rats were fed for five weeks on standard rat chow (23 g fat/kg diet) or one of four synthetic diets with butterfat, coconut oil, corn oil, or fish oil as the main lipid source (100 g fat/kg diet). In all diets, 10% of the fat was provided as corn oil to prevent essential fatty acid deficiency. Significant differences were observed in the saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acid composition, and in the ratio of cholesterol to phospholipid, in the hepatocyte membranes. The fluidity of hepatocyte plasma membranes was assessed using the fluorescence recovery after photobleaching technique and steady-state fluorescence anisotropy of diphenylhexatriene. No significant differences were found in the fluidity of plasma membranes between animals on the different fat diets, despite diet-induced changes in their fatty acid composition. However, the proportion of lipid free to diffuse in the plasma membrane varied with diet, being significantly greater (P<0.05) in animals fed chow (63.7%), coconut oil (61.5%), and butterfat (57.6%) diets than in those fed the corn oil (47.3%) diet. Animals fed fish oil showed an intermediate (50.0%) proportion of lipid free to diffuse. The data support the hypothesis that dietary lipids can change both the chemical composition and lateral organization (lipid domain structure) of rat hepatocyte plasma membranes.



cholesterol to phospholipid


lateral diffusion coefficient




fluorescence recovery after photobleaching


Hank’s balanced salts solution


5-N-(octadecanoyl) aminofluorescein


percentage recovery

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© AOCS Press 1997