The lateral diffusion constant of lipids (D(1)) in hepatocyte plasma membranes was measured in liver smears by means of the fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) method, applying the label, N-4-nitrobenzo-2-oxa-1,3-diazolyl phosphatidylethanolamine (NBD-PE). Nineteen ad libitum fed, male Fischer-344 rats in four age groups (2.1-29.8 months of age) were studied. A highly significant negative linear age-correlation of D(1) (cc = 0.958) was found. D(1) values were 1.39 x 10(-9) cm2/s in the young rats, and only 6.77 x 10(-10) cm2/s in the oldest rats. Lipid lateral mobility is changing in parallel with that of proteins, having been measured previously also with the FRAP method by the authors. Fractional recovery values (FR%) of the lipids were lower than those of proteins even in the young ages, but also decreased linearly with age, therefore, the parameter, D, x FR decreased even steeper with age than D(1) itself. D(1) was also measured in a group of six male Fischer 344 rats having been kept on dietary restriction (DR) since their age of 1 month until 30 months of age (applying the every-other-day (EOD) feeding). DR caused an increase of D(1), compared with the age-matched ad libitum fed animals: the mean was 9.24 x 10(-10) cm(2)/s. FR% and D(I), x FR again increased considerably under DR. The results are interpreted in terms of the increased protein and lipid turnover under DR.