Hypercholesterolemia has been proposed to influence cell functions via changes in membrane composition. The aim of the present study was to determine whether the membrane phospholipid composition of human lymphocytes is modified in hypercholesterolemia and whether these changes are accompanied by functional modifications. The phospholipid fatty acid contents and intracellular free calcium concentrations were determined in peripheral blood lymphocytes from 13 subjects with serum total cholesterol levels ranging from 4.6 to 8.8 mmol/l. The spontaneous basal rate of thymidine incorporation in lymphocyte of hypercholesterolemic individuals increased, while its relative stimulation by ConA was less effective. Important changes in membrane lipid composition, consisting' mainly of decrease of the mass of phospholipids, and of associated polyunsaturated fatty acids were observed in hypercholesterolemia. In contrast, the cell cholesterol content was significantly increased. The intracellular free calcium concentration was enhanced and strongly associated with circulating cholesterol levels, cell cholesterol content and phospholipid fatty acids. These results indicate that hypercholesterolemia is accompanied by profound changes in lymphocyte membrane lipid composition and Ca2+ handling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine