Human placental syncytiotrophoblast basal membrane plays an important role in transfer of nutrients from the mother to the growing fetus all throughout gestation. The membrane lipid composition together with the bilayer fluidity is found to be the major index in modulation of these transport processes. In the present study, the effects of changing lipid composition on the placental basal membrane fluidity and the modulating influence of the latter on membrane enzyme and transport functions with progress of gestation,were investigated. Steady-state fluorescence analysis using 1,6-diphenyl- 1,3,5 hexatriene as the probe, indicated a decrease in fluorescence anisotropy of both labeled native membrane vesicles and liposomes prepared from lipids extracted from the basal membrane vesicles, signifying increased bilayer fluidity with progress of gestation. This in turn, was successfully correlated to the lowering of cholesterol content and enhanced phospholipid concentration with a steady decrease in cholesterol/phospholipid ratio during placental development. Enhanced Na+-K+-ATPase activity and steady-state glucose uptake across basal membrane with gestational progress suggested modulation of membrane protein functions by the fluidity, which was further corroborated by the increased bilayer fluidity and enzyme activity in benzyl alcohol treated basal membrane in each gestational age group.