Lymphocyte membrane fluidity was examined in aged mice and characterized as a qualitative and effective change which takes place in the aging process. Fluorescence polarization of diphenylhexatriene-labelled mouse spleen cells is substantially higher in cells from old mice (20-36 months) than young mice (2-7 months). A similar difference was also observed with isolated plasma membranes from spleen cells of old and young mice. The overall estimate is that the lipid microviscosity in the lymphocyte plasma membrane from old mice is about 20% higher than that of young mice. The cholesterol/phospholipid ratio determined for the isolated plasma membrane preparations was 0.68 and 0.9, respectively, which is probably the main cause for the difference in membrane viscosity. An elevated cholesterol/phospholipid ratio was also observed in the blood serum of old mice. It is plausible that the source of excess membrane cholesterol in the old mouse lymphocytes originates in the high serum cholesterol.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology