, 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
  • S. Ladha
  • D. C. Clark
  • R. F. Grimble
  • E. K. Lund


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


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Brenner, R.R. (1984) Effect of Unsaturated Acids on Membrane Structure and Enzyme Kinetics, Prog. Lipid Res. 23, 69–96.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Opmeer, F.A., Adolfs, M.J.P., and Bonta, I.L. (1984) Regulation of Prostaglandin E2 Receptors in vivo by Dietary Fatty Acids in Peritoneal Macrophages from Rats, J. Lipid Res. 25, 262–268.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hornstra, G. (1984) Regulation of Prostanoid Production by Dietary Fatty Acids, Med. Biol. 62, 261–262.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Johnston, P.V. (1985) Dietary Fat, Eicosanoids, and Immunity, Adv. Lipid Res. 21, 103–141.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Merrill, A.H. (1992) Ceramide: A New Lipid “Second Messenger”?, Nutr. Rev. 50, 78–90.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Mitchell, R.H., Kirk, C.J., Jones, L.M., Downes, C.P., and Creba, J.A. (1981) The Stimulation of Inositol Lipid Metabolism That Accompanies Calcium Mobilization in Stimulated Cells: Defined Characteristics and Unanswered Questions, Phillos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. Biol. 296, 123–137.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kinsella, J.E. (1990) Lipids, Membrane Receptors, and Enzymes: Effects of Dietary Fatty Acids, J. Parenter. Enteral Nutr. 14, 200S-217S.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Criado, M., Eibl, H., and Barrantes, F.J. (1982) Effects of Lipids on Acetylcholine Receptor. Essential Need of Cholesterol for Maintenance of Agonist-Induced State Transitions in Lipid Vesicles, Biochemistry 21, 3622–3629.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Shinitzky, M., and Souroujon, M. (1979) Passive Modulation of Bloodgroup Antigens, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 76, 4438–4440.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mead, J.F. (1984) The Noneicosanoid Functions of the Essential Fatty Acids, J. Lipid Res. 25, 1517–1521.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kimelberg, H.K. (1977) The Influence of Membrane Fluidity on the Activity of Membrane-Bound Enzymes, in Cell Surface Reviews (Poste, G., and Nicolson, G.L., eds.), Vol. 3, pp. 205–293, Elsevier/North Holland Biomedical, New York.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Clandinin, M.T., Field, C.J., Hargreaves, K., Morson, L., and Zsigmond, E. (1985) Role of Diet Fat in Subcellular Structure and Function, Can. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. 63, 546–556.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Stubbs, C.D., and Smith, A.D. (1984) The Modification of Mammalian Membrane Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Composition in Relation to Membrane Fluidity and Function, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 779, 89–137.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Quinn, P.J. (1981) The Fluidity of Cell Membranes and Its Regulation. Prog. Biophys. Mol. Biol. 38, 1–104.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Stubbs, C.D. (1983) Membrane Fluidity: Structure and Dynamics of Membrane Lipids, in Essays in Biochemistry (Campbell, P.N., and Marshall, R.D., eds.), Vol. 19, pp. 1–39, Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Barenholz, Y. (1984) Sphingomyelin-Lecithin Balance in Membranes: Composition, Structure, and Function Relationships, in Physiology of Membrane Fluidity (Shinitzky, M., ed.), Vol. 1, pp. 131–173, CRC Press, Boca Raton.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Cooper, R.A., and Strauss, J.F. (1984) Regulation of Cell Membrane Cholesterol, in Physiology of Membrane Fluidity (Shinitzky, M., ed.), Vol. 1, pp. 73–97, CRC Press, Boca Raton.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Yeagle, P.L. (1985) Cholesterol and the Cell Membrane, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 822, 267–287.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Shinitzky, M. (1984) Membrane Fluidity and Cellular Functions, in Physiology of Membrane Fluidity (Shinitzky, M., ed.), Vol. 1, pp. 1–51, CRC Press, Boca Raton.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    McMurchie, E.J. (1988) Dietary Lipids and the Regulation of Membrane Fluidity and Function. Advances in Membrane Fluidity, in Physiological Regulation of Membrane Fluidity (Aloia, R.C., Curtain, C.C., and Gordon, L.M., eds.), pp. 189–237. Alan R. Liss, New York.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gill, R., and Clark, W. (1980) Membrane Structure-Function Relationships in Cell-Mediated Cytolysis. I. Effect of Exogenously Incorporated Fatty Acids on Effector Cell Function in Cell-Mediated Cytolysis, J. Immunol. 125, 689–695.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Heron, D.S., Shinitzky, M., Hershowitz, M., and Samuel, D. (1980) Lipid Fluidity Markedly Modulates the Binding of Serotonin to Mouse Brain Membranes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 77, 7463–7467.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Houslay, M.D. (1981) Mobile Receptor and Collision Coupling Mechanisms for the Activation of Adenylate Cyclase by Glucagon, Adv. Cyclic Nucleotide Res. 14, 111–119.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Edwards-Webb, J.D., and Gurr, M.I. (1988) The Influence of Dietary Fats on the Chemical Composition and Physical Properties of Biological Membranes, Nutr. Res. 8, 1297–1305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Schroeder, F. (1983) Lipid Domains in Plasma Membranes from Rat Liver, Eur. J. Biochem. 132, 509–516.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Loten, E.G., and Redshaw-Loten, J.C. (1986) Preparation of Rat Liver Plasma Membranes in a High Yield, Anal. Biochem. 154, 183–185.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Bligh, E.G., and Dyer, W.J. (1959) A Rapid Method of Total Lipid Extraction and Purification, Chem. J. Biochem. Physiol. 37, 911–917.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Stähler, F., Gruber, W., and Stinshoff, K. (1977) A Practical Enzymatic Cholesterol Determination, Med. Lab. 30, 29–37.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Trinder, P. (1969) Determination of Glucose in the Blood Using Glucose Oxidase with an Alternative Oxygen Acceptor, Ann. Clin. Biochem. 6, 24–27.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ladha, S., Mackie, A.R., and Clark, D.C. (1994) Cheek Cell Membrane Fluidity Measured by Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching and Steadystate Fluorescence Anisotropy, J. Memb. Biol. 142, 223–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Schedl, H.P., Wilson, H.D., Mathur, S.N., Murthy, S., and Field, F.J. (1989) Effects of Phospholipid or Cholesterol Enrichment of Rat Intestinal Brush Border Membrane on Membrane Order and Transport of Calcium, Metabolism 38, 1164–1169.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kuhry, J.E., Duportail, G., Bronner, C., Laustriat, G. (1985) Plasma Membrane Fluidity Measurements on Whole Living Cells by Fluorescence Anisotropy of Trimethylammoniumdiphenylhexatriene, Biochim. Biophys. Acta 845, 60–67.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Deguercy, A., Schrevel, J., Duportail, G., Laustriat, G., and Kuhry, J.G. (1986) Membrane Fluidity Changes in P. berghei-Infected Erythrocytes, Investigated with a Specific Plasma Membrane Fluorescent Probe, Biochem. Int. 12, 21–31.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Berlin, E., Bhathena, S.J., Judd, J.T., Nair, P.P., Peters, R.C., Bhagavan, H.N., Ballard-Barbash, R., and Taylor, P.R. (1992) Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acid and Vitamin-e Supplementation on Erythrocyte-Membrane Fluidity, Tocopherols, Insulin Binding, and Lipid-Composition in Adult Men, J. Nutr. Biochem. 3, 392–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Popp-Snijders, C., Schouten, J.A., van Blitterswijk, W.J., and van der Veen, E.A. (1986) Changes in Membrane Lipid Composition of Human Erythrocytes After Dietary Supplementation of (n-3) Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids. Maintenance of Membrane Fluidity, Biochem. Biophys. Acta 854, 31–37.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Wahnon, R., Cogan, U., and Mokady, S. (1992) Dietary Fish Oil Modulates the Alkaline Phosphatase Activity and Not the Fluidity of Rat Intestinal Microvillus Membrane, J. Nutr. Metab. 29, 279–288.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Charnock, J.S., McLennan, P.L., Abeywardena, M.Y., and Russell, G.R. (1985) Altered Levels of n-6/n-3 Fatty Acids in Rat Heart and Storage Fat Following Variable Dietary Intake of Linoleic Acids, Ann. Nutr. Metab. 29, 279–288.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Lippiello, P.M., Holloway, C.T., Garfield, S.A., and Holloway, P.W. (1979) The Effects of Estradiol on Stearyl-CoA Desaturase Activity and Microsomal Membrane Properties in Rooster Liver, J. Biol. Chem. 254, 2004–2009.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Van-Blitterswijk, W.J., van der Meer, B.W., and Hilkmann, H. (1987) Quantitative Contributions of Cholesterol and the Individual Classes of Phospholipids and Their Degree of Fatty Acyl(un)saturation to Membrane Fluidity Measured by Fluorescence Polarization, Biochemistry 26, 1746–1756.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    McCance and Widdowson’s: The Composition of Foods (1979) (Paul, A., Southgate, D.A.T., and Russell, J., eds.), HMSO, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© AOCS Press 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. G. Clamp
    • 1
  • S. Ladha
    • 2
  • D. C. Clark
    • 2
  • R. F. Grimble
    • 1
  • E. K. Lund
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Human NutritionUniversity of SouthamptonSouthampton
  2. 2.Institute of Food ResearchNorwich LaboratoryNorwichUK

Personalised recommendations