Effects of chronic ethanol consumption on transbilayer distribution of phospholipids in the exofacial and cytofacial leaflets of erythrocytes from chronic ethanol-consuming Sinclair (S-1) miniature swine were examined. Phosphatidylcholine (PC) was predominantly located in the exofacial leaflet and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylserine (PS) located primarily in the cytofacial leaflet. Chronic ethanol consumption significantly increased PC content in the exofacial leaflet without changing bulk membrane PC composition. Ethanol-induced changes in PC distribution were specific for PC and not detected in PE or PS. There was also a significant decrease in sphingomyelin in the ethanol group. Sphingomyelin is primarily an exofacial phospholipid. The specific ethanol-induced changes in the exofacial leaflet are consistent with recent studies showing that the exofacial membrane leaflet is more susceptible to effects of ethanol as compared to the cytofacial leaflet. Such specificity of action provides a new way of viewing how ethanol alters membrane structure and function.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported in part by NIAAA grant AA07292 (W.G.W.) and by the Medical Research Service and the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Chronic ethanol consumption
- Ethanol tolerance
- Lipid domains
- Membrane asymmetry