The effect of Pycnogenol on the erythrocyte membrane fluidity

Gen Physiol Biophys. 2004 Mar;23(1):39-51.


In the present study, the in vitro effect of polyphenol rich plant extract, flavonoid--Pycnogenol (Pyc), on erythrocyte membrane fluidity was studied. Membrane fluidity was determined using 1-[4-trimethyl-aminophenyl]-6-phenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene (TMA-DPH), 1,6-diphenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene (DPH) and 12-(9-anthroyloxy) stearic acid (12-AS) fluorescence anisotropy. After Pyc action (50 microg/ml to 300 microg/ml), we observed decreases in the anisotropy values of TMA-DPH and DPH in a dose-dependent manner compared with the untreated erythrocyte membranes. Pyc significantly increased the membrane fluidity predominantly at the membrane surface. Further, we observed the protective effect of Pyc against lipid peroxidation, TBARP generation and oxidative hemolysis induced by H2O2. Pyc can reduce the lipid peroxidation and oxidative hemolysis either by quenching free radicals or by chelating metal ions, or by both. The exact mechanism(s) of the positive effect of Pyc is not known. We assume that Pyc efficacy to modify effectively some membrane dependent processes is related not only to the chemical action of Pyc but also to its ability to interact directly with cell membranes and/or penetrate the membrane thus inducing modification of the lipid bilayer and lipid-protein interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / drug effects*
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / physiology*
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Hemolysis / drug effects*
  • Hemolysis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Lipid Peroxidation / physiology
  • Membrane Fluidity / drug effects*
  • Membrane Fluidity / physiology*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Plant Extracts


  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Plant Extracts
  • pycnogenols