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Aging and the biophysical properties of cell membranes

Authors
Journal
Life Sciences
0024-3205
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
37
Issue
15
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0024-3205(85)90079-7
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Physics

Abstract

Abstract Fluorescence spectroscopy was used to examine the biophysical characteristics of human platelet membranes as a function of subject age. The structural order of membrane lipid domains was determined with the use of 1,6 - diphenyl - 1,3,5 - hexatriene (DPH), a fluorescent probe that preferentially localizes in the hydrocarbon core of synthetic and biological membranes. Over the age range of subjects examined (17 to 86 years) the structural order of platelet membranes, as reflected by the steady-state fluorescence polarization of DPH, increased substantially. The magnitude of the observed increase in membrane structural order is sufficient to affect membrane-related cell functions including platelet aggregation. A major contributor to the increase in structural order of platelet membranes may have been an increase in the concentration of cholesterol in serum and tissue with age. The changes observed here in platelet membranes may be a general phenomenon of aging, as changes of similar type and magnitude have been observed in lymphocyte membranes and brain with age in order studies.

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