Effect of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on erythrocyte membranes by DSC and EPR

Nelli Farkas, Dénes Lõrinczy, Timea Dergez, Ferenc Kilár, Joseph Belagyi

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Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR) experiments were performed on human erythrocyte membranes and 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) model systems in order to study the effect the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on lipid structure and dynamics. Eight different compounds among others naphthalene and pyrene were compared, which occur in significant concentrations in dust collected from the air in large cities. Experiments using spin label technique showed that the compounds induced mobility changes in the lipid region in the environment of the fatty acid probe molecules incorporated into the membranes. The effects depended on the structure and concentration of the different compounds. Similarly to EPR observations, DSC measurements reported decrease of transition temperature in comparison to control DPPC vesicles. These results suggest that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were able to modify the internal dynamics of erythrocyte membranes which might lead to damage of the biological functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-168
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2004



  • DSC
  • EPR
  • Membranes
  • PAHs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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