Journal of trace elements in medicine and biology : organ of the Society for Minerals and Trace Elements (GMS)

In vitro effect of AlCl3 on human erythrocytes: changes in membrane morphology and functionality.

PMID 23199702


Aluminum belongs to a group of potential toxic elements capable of penetrating the human body. In this paper, the effect of aluminum concentrations on red blood cell membranes using different fluorescent probes able to localize in various parts of the phospholipid bilayer (TMA-DPH, laurdan and pyrene) were studied. Our results confirm that human erythrocytes exposed to aluminum undergo physico-chemical modifications at the membrane level. A decrease in fluorescence anisotropy of TMA-DPH and in the polarity of the lipid bilayer with a concomitant shift toward a gel phase was observed, and the pyrene excimerization coefficient (kex) increased. Furthermore, the presence of aluminum induced lipid peroxidation and reduced the activity of erythrocyte antioxidant enzymes (SOD, CAT and GSHPx). Al-induced morphological changes on the erythrocyte membrane surface were monitored using atomic force microscopy. These results provide further information on the target of action of different aluminum amounts.