On the sensitivity of intact cells to perturbation by ethanol

Robert Hitzemann, Katherine Dains, James Lin, Patricia Whitaker-Azmitia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A comparison was made of ethanol's effects on the order of plasma membranes in intact cells and some isolated membrane preparations. Order was assessed by steady-state fluorescence polarization techniques using the non-permeant probe, TMA-DPH. The data show that two cultured cells, rat neonatal astroglial and N2A neuroblastoma, were sensitive to significant ethanol-induced disordering within the anesthetically relevant range (100-200 mM). Human erythrocytes, cultured fibroblasts and homogenized astroglial cells required higher ethanol concentrations (> 250 mM) to produce a similar effect. Intact erythrocytes were approximately twice as sensitive as erythrocyte ghost membranes to ethanol-induced perturbation. The neonatal glial and N2A cells were approximately five times more sensitive than synaptic membranes to ethanol effects. DMPC and DMPC + cholesterol liposomes and myelin membranes were insensitive to ethanol's effects. The incorporation of 10 mole % ganglioside GM1 sensitized the liposomes to ethanol-induced perturbation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2611-2619
Number of pages9
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number26
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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