Polymorphic phase behavior of perfluoroalkylated phosphatidylcholines

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1994 Feb 23;1190(1):25-39. doi: 10.1016/0005-2736(94)90031-0.


The polymorphic phase behavior of the F-alkyl modified phosphatidylcholines FnCmPC with Fn = CnF2n + 1 and Cm = -(CH2)m- and the physicochemical properties of their aqueous dispersions have been investigated. We show that the supramolecular assemblies formed by F4C4PC, F6C4PC, F8C4PC and F4C10PC dispersed in water consist of liposomes. F6C10PC forms, as does F8C10PC, a ribbon-like phase (two-dimensional centered rectangular lattice) at 25 degrees C, but on heating, it forms a lamellar phase. Upon cooling, the lamellar gel phase is metastable and converts slowly back into the ribbon-like phase. Analyses of the dispersions before and after heat sterilization and upon storage at 25 degrees C reveal an exceptional stability of the FnCmPC-based liposomes which contrasts strongly with that of DPPC vesicles. This enhanced stability most likely arises from the increased hydrophobic character resulting from the presence of the perfluoroalkyl tails. The gel to fluid phase transition temperature of the FnCmPCs is found to be related to the total length of the hydrophobic chain and more markedly to the length of the perfluoroalkyl tail. This phase transition is first induced by the melting of the fluorocarbon chain. Each portion of the Fn tail and of the hydrocarbon spacer experiences intrinsic changes of molecular motion with temperature. The partitioning of a lipophilic/hydrophilic paramagnetic probe between the aqueous and lipidic phases present in the FnCmPC dispersions shows that an increase in fluorophilic character results in a lower solubility of the probe in the membrane, thus reflecting a dramatic decrease of the membrane's lipophilicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calorimetry, Differential Scanning
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Fluorocarbons / chemistry*
  • Freeze Fracturing
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Phosphatidylcholines / chemistry*
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Fluorocarbons
  • Phosphatidylcholines