The use of liposomes has been crucial for investigations in biomimetic chemical biology as a membrane model and in medicinal chemistry for drug delivery. Liposomes are made of phospholipids whose biophysical characteristics strongly depend on the type of fatty acid moiety, where natural unsaturated lipids always have the double bond geometry in the cis
configuration. The influence of lipid double bond configuration had not been considered so far with respect to the competence of liposomes in delivery. We were interested in evaluating possible changes in the molecular properties induced by the conversion of the double bond from cis
geometry. Here we report on the effects of the addition of trans
-phospholipids supplied in different amounts to other liposome constituents (cholesterol, neutral phospholipids and cationic surfactants), on the size, ζ-potential and stability of liposomal formulations and on their ability to encapsulate two dyes such as rhodamine B and fluorescein. From a biotechnological point of view, trans
-containing liposomes proved to have different characteristics from those containing the cis
analogues, and to influence the incorporation and release of the dyes. These results open new perspectives in the use of the unnatural lipid geometry, for the purpose of changing liposome behavior and/or of obtaining molecular interferences, also in view of synergic effects of cell toxicity, especially in antitumoral strategies.
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