Monolayer/Bilayer Equilibrium of Phospholipids in Gel or Liquid States: Interfacial Adsorption via Monomer or Liposome Diffusion?

Gels. 2023 Oct 6;9(10):803. doi: 10.3390/gels9100803.


Phospholipids (PLs) are widely used in the pharma industry and a better understanding of their behavior under different conditions is helpful for applications such as their use as medical transporters. The transition temperature Tm affects the lipid conformation and the interfacial tension between perfluoroperhydrophenanthrene (PFP) and an aqueous suspension of 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine (DPPC), 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine (DSPC), as well as a mixture of these PLs with cholesterol. Interfacial tensions were measured with the Du Noüy ring at quasi-equilibrium; the area per molecule was calculated according to the Gibbsian approach and a time-dependent tension gradient. Results show that the time tε to reach quasi-equilibrium was shorter when the temperature was above Tm, indicating a faster adsorption process (tε,DPPC,36 °C = 48 h, tε,DPPC,48 °C = 24 h) for PL in the liquid crystalline state than in the gel state (T < Tm). In addition, concentration-dependent results of the interfacial tension revealed that above the respective Tm and at all concentrations c > 0.1 mM, the average minimum interfacial tension for DPPC and DSPC (14.1 mN/m and 15.3 mN/m) does not differ significantly between those two lipids. Equilibrium between monolayers and bilayers shows that for T < Tm, surface pressures ≈ 31 mN/m are reached while for T > Tm, ≈ 41 mN/m. Mixtures with cholesterol only reach ≤ 31 mN/m Tm, with no significant difference between the two PLs. The higher interfacial tension of the mixture indicates stabilization of the liposomal conformation in the aqueous phase by the addition of cholesterol. The high diffusion coefficients show that adsorption is mainly based on liposomes.

Keywords: interfacial tension; monomer and liposomal diffusion; perfluorocarbon; phospholipids; temperature; tensiometry.