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Membranes 2015, 5(4), 857-874; doi:10.3390/membranes5040857

Effects of Low Concentrations of Docosahexaenoic Acid on the Structure and Phase Behavior of Model Lipid Membranes

1
Bioengineering and Small Scale Technologies, School of Engineering, University of California, Merced, CA 95343, USA
2
Department of Physics, School of Natural Sciences, University of California, Merced, CA 95343, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: James McGrath
Received: 15 September 2015 / Accepted: 25 November 2015 / Published: 4 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes in Medicine and Biology)
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Abstract

In this paper we report an X-ray diffraction study on the phase behavior of binary lipid mixtures of 1-palmitoyl-2-docosahexaenoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DHA-PE) and 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) at low concentrations below 5.0 mol% DHA-PE. Our results show that DHA-PE induces phase separation into a DHA rich liquid crystalline (Lα) phase and a DHA poor gel (Lβ) phase at overall DHA-PE concentrations as low as 0.1 mol%. In addition, we find that the structure of the Lβ phase, from which the DHA-PE molecules are largely excluded, is modified in the phase-separated state at low DHA-PE concentrations, with a decrease in bilayer thickness of 1.34 nm for 0.1 mol% at room temperature, compared to pure DPPC bilayers. This result is contrary to that seen in similar studies on mono-unsaturated lipids where an increase in bilayer thickness is observed. The surprising effect of such low DHA-PE concentrations on membrane structure may be important in understanding the role of highly polyunsaturated lipids in biological membrane-based structures and similar artificial surfactant systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: DHA; lipid bilayer; gel phase; X-ray diffraction DHA; lipid bilayer; gel phase; X-ray diffraction
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lor, C.; Hirst, L.S. Effects of Low Concentrations of Docosahexaenoic Acid on the Structure and Phase Behavior of Model Lipid Membranes. Membranes 2015, 5, 857-874.

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