To examine the factors that might alter the fluidity of erythrocyte membrane in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) patients.


The subjects were 10 health men and 30 IDDM mem: 10 with good blood glucose (BG) control (HbA1c 5.88 ± 0.60% [mean ± SD]), 10 with poor BG control (HbA1C 9.48 ± 1.05%), and 10 with poor BG control and mild to moderate diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) (HbA1C 9.12 ±2.25%, strongly positive ketonuria 3+ and elevated plasma β-hydroxybutyrate). Erythrocyte membrane fluidity was determined by fluorescence polarization using 6-(9-anthroyloxy stearic acid as fluorescent probe.


Membrane fluidity was normal in the diabetic patients with good BG control but significantly lower in the two groups of patients with poor BG control than in the healthy subjects (P < 0.01). The membrane fluidity in the poor BG control groups was also lower in the patients with DKA than in those without DKA (P < 0.01).


The factors that most influence membrane fluidity in IDDM patients appear to be hyperglycemia and ketone bodies.

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