Red Cell Membrane Lipids and Aging

  • H. Heckers
  • D. Platt
Conference paper


The human erythrocyte membrane is composed of 50% protein, 40% lipid, and 10% carbohydrate by weight [45]. All the erythrocyte’s lipid is in the membrane. As shown in Table 1, the predominant lipids are phospholipids and unesterified cholesterol. The molar ratio of cholesterol to phospholipids is reported as ranging from 0.77 [2] to 0.90 [10]. The major classes of phospholipids represented are the choline-containing phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin, and the amino-phospholipids phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylserine; the former three each constitute 25%-30% of the total membrane phospholipid, while phosphatidylserine makes up 10%—15%. In addition the membrane contains significant amounts of four neutral glycosphingolipids [9] with globoside as the predominant component, but it lacks triglyceride and cholesterol esters.


Phospholipid Content Outer Leaflet Hereditary Spherocytosis Human Erythrocyte Membrane Alcoholic Liver Cirrhosis 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Heckers
  • D. Platt

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