Transmembrane distribution of sterol in the human erythrocyte. Academic Article uri icon


  • The transbilayer cholesterol distribution of human erythrocytes was examined by two independent techniques, quenching of dehydroergosterol fluorescence and fluorescence photobleaching of NBD-cholesterol. Dehydroergosterol in conjunction with leaflet selective quenching showed that, at equilibrium, 75% of the sterol was localized to the inner leaflet of resealed erythrocyte ghosts. NBD-cholesterol and fluorescence photobleaching displayed two diffusion values in both resealed ghosts and intact erythrocytes. The fractional contribution of the fast and slow diffusion constants of NBD-labelled cholesterol represent its inner and outer leaflet distribution. At room temperature the plasma membrane inner leaflet of erythrocyte ghosts as well as intact erythrocytes cells contained 78% of the plasma membrane sterol. The erythrocyte membrane transbilayer distribution of sterol was independent of temperature. In conclusion, dehydroergosterol and NBD-cholesterol data are consistent with an enrichment of cholesterol in the inner leaflet of the human erythrocyte.

published proceedings

  • Biochim Biophys Acta

author list (cited authors)

  • Schroeder, F., Nemecz, G., Wood, W. G., Joiner, C., Morrot, G., Ayraut-Jarrier, M., & Devaux, P. F.

citation count

  • 118

complete list of authors

  • Schroeder, F||Nemecz, G||Wood, WG||Joiner, C||Morrot, G||Ayraut-Jarrier, M||Devaux, PF

publication date

  • July 1991