Archives of biochemistry and biophysics

Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) and salicylic acid interaction with the human erythrocyte membrane bilayer induce in vitro changes in the morphology of erythrocytes.

PMID 24055635


Despite the well-documented information, there are insufficient reports concerning the effects of salicylate compounds on the structure and functions of cell membranes, particularly those of human erythrocytes. With the aim to better understand the molecular mechanisms of the interaction of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) and salicylic acid (SA) with cell membranes, human erythrocyte membranes and molecular models were utilized. These consisted of bilayers of dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) and dimyristoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DMPE), representative of phospholipid classes located in the outer and inner monolayers of the human erythrocyte membrane, respectively. The capacity of ASA and SA to perturb the multibilayer structures of DMPC and DMPE was evaluated by X-ray diffraction while DMPC unilamellar vesicles (LUV) were studied by fluorescence spectroscopy. Moreover, we took advantage of the capability of differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to detect the changes in the thermotropic phase behavior of lipid bilayers resulting from ASA and SA interaction with PC and PE molecules. In an attempt to further elucidate their effects on cell membranes, the present work also examined their influence on the morphology of intact human erythrocytes by means of defocusing and scanning electron microscopy, while isolated unsealed human erythrocyte membranes (IUM) were studied by fluorescence spectroscopy. Results indicated that both salicylates interact with human erythrocytes and their molecular models in a concentration-dependent manner perturbing their bilayer structures.