The response of giant phospholipid vesicles to millimeter waves radiation

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Jul;1788(7):1497-507. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2009.04.006. Epub 2009 Apr 17.


Due to the increasing interest in millimeter waves (MMW) applications in medicine and telecommunications, the investigation of their potential biological effects is of utmost importance. Here we report results of the study of interaction between low-intensity radiation at 53.37 GHz and giant vesicles. Direct optical observations of vesicles subjected to irradiation enabled the monitoring in real time of the response of vesicles. Physical changes of vesicles, i.e. elongation, induced diffusion of fluorescent dye di-8-ANEPPS, and increased attractions between vesicles are demonstrated. These effects are reversible and occur only during irradiation with a "switch on" of the effect requiring a short time. Since the average temperature change was very small the effects could not be attributed to thermal mechanisms. We assume that the interaction of MMW with lipid membrane leads to changes at the membrane-water interface, where charged and dipolar residues are located.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Microwaves*
  • Phospholipids / chemistry
  • Phospholipids / radiation effects*
  • Unilamellar Liposomes / chemistry
  • Unilamellar Liposomes / radiation effects*


  • Phospholipids
  • Unilamellar Liposomes