Morphological Effects Induced In Vitro by Propranolol on Human Erythrocytes

Mario Suwalsky, Pablo Zambrano, Fernando Villena, Marcela Manrique-Moreno, M Gallardo and Malgorzata Jemiola


Despite the extended use and well-documented information, there are insufficient reports concerning the effects of propranolol on the structure and functions of cell membranes, particularly those of human erythrocytes. Aimed to better understand the molecular mechanisms of its interactions with cell membranes, human erythrocyte and molecular models of the red cell membrane were utilized. The latter consisted of bilayers of dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) and dimyristoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DMPE), representative of phospholipid classes located in the outer and inner monolayers of the human erythrocyte membrane, respectively. The capacity of propranolol to perturb the multibilayer structures of DMPC and DMPE was evaluated by X-ray diffraction. Moreover, we took advantage of the capability of differential scanning calorimetry to detect the changes in the thermotropic phase behavior of lipid bilayers resulting from propranolol interaction with DMPC and DMPE multilamellar vesicles. In an attempt to further elucidate their effects on cell membranes, the present work also examined their influence on the morphology of intact human erythrocytes by means of defocusing and scanning electron microscopy. Results indicated that propranolol induced morphological changes to human erythrocytes and interacted in a concentration-dependent manner with phospholipid bilayer.