Alterations in Lipid Composition and Fluidity of Liver Plasma Membranes in Copper-Deficient Rats

K. Y. Lei, F. Rosenstein, F. Shi, C. A. Hassel, T. P. Carr, J. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In view of the importance of membrane fluidity on cell functions, the influence of phospholipid acyl groups on membrane fluidity, and the changes in lipid metabolism induced by copper (Cu) deficiency, this study was designed to examine the influence of dietary Cu on the lipid composition and fluidity of liver plasma membranes. Male Sprague–Dawley rats were divided into two dietary treatments, namely Cu deficient and Cu adequate. After 8 weeks of treatment, liver plasma membranes were isolated by sucrose density gradient centrifugation. The lipid fluidity of plasma membranes, as assessed by the intramolecular eximer fluorescence of 1,3-di(1-pyrenyl) propane, was significantly depressed by Cu deficiency. In addition, Cu deficiency significantly reduced the content of arachidonic and palmitoleic acids but increased the docosatetraenoic and docosahexaenoic acids of membrane phospholipids. This alteration in unsaturated phospholipid fatty acid composition, especially the large reduction in arachidonic acid, may have contributed to the depressed membrane fluidity. Furthermore, Cu deficiency also markedly altered the fatty acid composition of the triacylglycerols associated with the plasma membranes. Thus, the lipid composition and fluidity of liver plasma membranes are responsive to the animal's Cu status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-341
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1988

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Aided by Grants 84-CRCR-1-1397 and 86-CRCR-1-1925 awarded to K. Y. Lei by the USDA Human Nutrition Competitive Grants Program. Published as article No. 4412 of the Arizona Agricultural Experiment Station. 2


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