Next Article in Journal
Characterization of Polyethylene-Graft-Sulfonated Polyarylsulfone Proton Exchange Membranes for Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Applications
Next Article in Special Issue
Analytical and Finite Element Modeling of Nanomembranes for Miniaturized, Continuous Hemodialysis
Previous Article in Journal / Special Issue
Co-Utilization of Glucose and Xylose for Enhanced Lignocellulosic Ethanol Production with Reverse Membrane Bioreactors
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

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

Bioengineering and Small Scale Technologies, School of Engineering, University of California, Merced, CA 95343, USA
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
Membranes 2015, 5(4), 857-874;
Received: 15 September 2015 / Accepted: 25 November 2015 / Published: 4 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membranes in Medicine and Biology)
PDF [634 KB, uploaded 4 December 2015]


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

Figure 1

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).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

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.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Membranes EISSN 2077-0375 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top