The effect of free fatty acids on the thermotropic phase transition of dimyristoyl glycerophosphocholine
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The effect of free fatty acids on the phase transition characteristics and fluidity of bilayers of dimyristoyl glycerophosphocholine were studied by pyrene eximer fluorescence and differential scanning calorimetry. High melting saturated fatty acids with chain lenghts of 12--18 carbon atoms raise the phase transition temperature and enhance the ability of pyrene to form clusters in the gel state while not affecting the fluidity of the membrane in the liquid crystal state. Low melting unsaturated fatty acids lower the phase transition temperature and decrease the ability of pyrene to form clusters in the gel state while not affecting the fluidity of the membrane in the liquid crystal state. The effects of the very long chain fatty acids, arachidic (C 20) and behenic (C 22) appears to be similar to those of cholesterol in that they cause a broadening of the phase transition with a lowering of the transition enthalpy but have little effect on the temperature at which the phase transition occurs.
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