Transmembrane distribution of sterol in the human erythrocyte

Friedhelm Schroeder, Gyorgy Nemecz, W. Gibson Wood, Clinton Joiner, Gil Morrot, Marise Ayraut-Jarrier, Philippe F. Devaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


The transbilayer cholesterol distribution of human erythrocytes was examined by two independent techniques, quenching of dehydroergosterol fluorescence and fluorescence photobleaching of NBD-cholesterol. Dehydroergosterol in conjunction with leaflet selective quenching showed that, at equilibrium, 75% of the sterol was localized to the inner leaflet of resealed erythrocyte ghosts and intact erythrocytes. The fractional contribution of the fast and slow diffusion values in both resealed ghosts and intact erythrocytes. The fractional contribution of the fast and slow diffusion constants of NBD-labelled cholesterol represent its inner and outer leaflet distribution. At room temperature the plasma membrane inner leaflet of erythrocyte ghosts as well as intact erythrocytes cells contained 78% of the plasma membrane sterol. The erythrocyte membrane transbilayer distribution of sterol was independent of temperature. In conclusion, dehydroergosterol and NBD-cholesterol data are consistent with an enrichment of cholesterol in the inner leaflet of the human erythrocyte.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-192
Number of pages10
JournalBBA - Biomembranes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 22 1991
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supportedin part by grantsf romthe USPHS (DK41402a nd ,~07292)a nd by the Medical ResearchS ervicea nd theG eriatricR esearchE, duca-

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • (Human)
  • Cholesterol
  • Dehydroergosterol
  • Erythrocyte
  • Fluorescence photobleaching
  • Fluorescence quenching
  • Membrane domain


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