AAT Bioquest

What factors can affect membrane permeability?

Posted April 22, 2021


The permeability of a membrane is affected by temperature, the types of solutes present and the level of cell hydration. Increasing temperature makes the membrane more unstable and very fluid. Decreasing the temperature will slow the membrane. The membrane will completely loose structure if the temperature goes beyond a certain point. The phospholipids are made to start moving more because of the increased energy. As a result, the membrane is made to be more permeable. On the type of solutes, we have large molecules that can never pass across the membrane, others that can pass across but with the aid of protein channels, and those that transfer through membrane through diffusion. The lower hydration levels reduce the ability to permit molecules. The lower the level of cell hydration, the lower the permeability. In conclusion, membrane permeability can be affected by the following factors:

  1. Temperature

  2. Types of solutes present

  3. Level of cell hydration

Additional resources

Diffusion and Membrane

Cell Meter™ JC-10 Mitochondrion Membrane Potential Assay Kit *Optimized for Microplate Assays*

Cell Structures and Organelles