J Nutr Biochem 2011 Apr 8;22(4):388-92. Epub 2010 Jul 8.
Department of Clinical Science "L. Sacco", Faculty of Medicine, University of Milan, 20157 Milan, Italy.
A previous study showed chemical and physical impairment of the erythrocyte membrane of overweight and moderately obese women. The present study investigated the effects of a low-calorie diet (800 kcal/day deficit for 8 weeks) on erythrocyte membrane properties in 70 overweight and moderately obese (body mass index, 25-33 kg/m(2)) normotensive, nondiabetic women. At the end of dietary intervention, 24.3% of women dropped out, 45.7% lost less than 5% of their initial weight (Group I) and only 30% of patients lost at least 5% of their initial body weight (Group II). Group I showed no significant changes in erythrocyte membrane composition and function. The erythrocyte membranes of Group II showed significant reductions in malondialdehyde, lipofuscin, cholesterol, sphingomyelin, palmitic acid and nervonic acid and an increase in di-homo-γ-linolenic acid, arachidonic acid and membrane fluidity. Moreover, Group II showed an improvement in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, glycemia and insulin resistance. These changes in erythrocyte membrane composition could reflect a virtuous cycle resulting from the reduction in insulin resistance associated with increased membrane fluidity that, in turn, results in a sequence of metabolic events that concur to further improve membrane fluidity.