Membrane lipid analyses and electron spin resonance (ESR) studies of membrane fluidity were carried out on the red cells of a Japanese patient with hereditary high red cell membrane phosphatidylcholine hemolytic anemia (HPCHA). Increased amounts of phosphatidylcholine (PC) and cholesterol were found in the membrane lipids of the affected patient, despite normal plasma lipids. The order parameter of cholesterol-free pure phospholipid liposomes prepared from this patient's red cells was decreased, apparently because of the increased PC. In contrast, the order parameter of the total red cell lipid liposomes (containing free cholesterol) was essentially normal. The overall fluidity of the intact red cells was determined by ESR with a spin probe, 5-SAL. Again, the order parameters were normal in the intact red cells of the patient with HPCHA. This suggests that the concomitant increase of membrane cholesterol and phosphatidylcholine serves to maintain normal membrane fluidity in the HPCHA red cells.

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