Thin Liquid Films and Monolayers of DMPC Mixed With PEG and Phospholipid Linked PEG

Eur Biophys J. 2006 Apr;35(4):352-62. doi: 10.1007/s00249-006-0043-0. Epub 2006 Jan 31.


In this work thin liquid films (TLFs) and monolayers at the air/water interface formed by dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) and by DMPC mixed with poly ethylene glycols (PEGs) and dimyristoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DMPE) linked PEGs were studied. Film forming dispersions were composed of two types of particles: liposomes and micelles. TLFs stability, threshold concentration C(t) (i.e., the minimum one for stable film formation), and hydrodynamic behavior were measured. At equivalent conditions, DMPC films were Newton black films (real bilayers), while DMPE-PEGs films were much thicker with free water between the monolayers. DMPE-PEG addition to DMPC films caused both C(t) decrease (depending on PEG moiety length and Mw) and change of TLF formation mechanism. TLFs' hydrodynamic behavior also strongly depended on DMPE-PEG content and Mw. It was observed that thinning of the DMPC and DMPE-PEGs films continued to different film types and thickness, being much thicker for the latter films. Addition of free PEGs (PEG-200/6000) did not alter TLF type or stability, but changed TLF thinning time, confirming that free PEGs with Mw<8000 could not penetrate in the membrane and alter "near-membrane" water layer viscosity. Monolayer studies showed improved formation kinetics of both adsorbed and spread films, decrease of surface tension (equilibrium and dynamic), and of film compression/decompression histeresis area in DMPE-PEGs monolayers compared with DMPC pure films. Our study shows that combining the models of phospholipid TLFs and monolayers provide the opportunity to investigate the properties of membrane surface and to clarify some mechanisms of its interactions with membrane-active agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine / chemistry*
  • Liposomes
  • Membranes, Artificial*
  • Micelles
  • Molecular Weight
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines / chemistry*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry*


  • Liposomes
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Micelles
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine
  • 1,2-dimyristoylphosphatidylethanolamine