Colchicine is beneficial in the treatment of cirrhotic patients, it prevents changes in plasma membrane bound enzymes induced by CCl4 intoxication. In this study, lipid composition and microviscosity were measured in liver plasma membranes isolated from rats given CCl4. Microviscosity values increased in rats given CCl4 for six weeks but fell considerably in those given CCl4 for 10 weeks. Both these changes were absent when colchicine was given with CCl4. The cholesterol/phospholipid molar ratios and lipid peroxide values increased but plasma membrane phospholipids, the length of fatty acyl chains, and the unsaturation index fell significantly after CCl4 intoxication. Colchicine treatment also prevented these changes. Changes in the lipid composition of liver plasma membranes were significantly correlated with lipid peroxidation. Colchicine prevents changes in the physicochemical properties of liver plasma membranes induced by longterm CCl4 treatment, probably by blocking peroxidation of unsaturated fatty acids.
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