Low cholesterol solubility in DODAB liposomes
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Through the analysis of the ESR spectra of spin labels, we investigated the thermotropic properties of dioctadecyl dimethylammonium bromide (DODAB) liposomes, in low and high ionic strength, with different cholesterol contents. The cationic lipid gel phase is stabilized by the presence of ions, the bilayer having a higher gel/fluid transition temperature (Tm) in high ionic strength. As found for low ionic strength [Benatti, C.R., Feitosa, E., Fernandez, R.M., Lamy-Freund, M.T., 2001. Structural and thermal characterization of dioctadecyldimethylammonium bromide dispersions by spin labels. Chem. Phys. Lipids, 111, 93-104], high salt DODAB membranes also present a clear coexistence of the two phases around Tm. Cholesterol solubility in DODAB bilayers seems to be rather low, as the coexistence of DODAB and cholesterol-rich domains can be clearly detected by spin labels, for cholesterol concentration as low as 15 mol% of the total lipid. For lower cholesterol concentrations, the effect of cholesterol in DODAB bilayers is similar to that in phospholipids. For concentrations at or above 45 mol% of cholesterol, spin labels do not detect the coexistence of structurally different domains.
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