Modification of membrane composition and enzymatic activities both in total brain homogenate and purified synaptic plasma membrane of 3 and 24 month old rats has been investigated. Protein, cholesterol and phospholipid content and (Na+, K+)ATPase and 2',3' cyclic nucleotide phosphohydrolase activities were determined. The major changes occurred in the whole homogenate where a general increase in total protein and cholesterol content with age and a significant increase of the cholesterol/phospholipids molar ratio has been detected. In S.P.M. aging process induced a decrease of protein, cholesterol and phospholipids content associated with an increased membrane viscosity and a decrease of delta E. These data are consistent with a change in the structural organization and in the distribution pattern of different cell population in the aging brain. A possible artifactual effect of freezing on the reported parameter is also discussed.