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Comparative differential scanning calorimetric and FTIR and 31P-NMR spectroscopic studies of the effects of cholesterol and androstenol on the thermotropic phase behavior and organization of phosphatidylcholine bilayers

McMullen, T.P.; Lewis, R.N.; McElhaney, R.N.

Biophysical Journal 66(3 Pt 1): 741-752

1994


ISSN/ISBN: 0006-3495
PMID: 8011906
DOI: 10.1016/s0006-3495(94)80850-1
Accession: 008349008

We have investigated the comparative effects of the incorporation of increasing quantities of androstenol and cholesterol on the thermotropic phase behavior of aqueous dispersions of members of a homologous series of linear saturated diacyl PCs-1 using high sensitivity DSC. We have also employed FTIR and 31P-NMR spectroscopy to study the comparative effects of androstenol and cholesterol incorporation on the organization of the host PC bilayer in both the gel and liquid-crystalline states. The effects of androstenol and cholesterol incorporation on the thermotropic phase behavior of shorter chain PCs like 14:0 PC are generally similar but not identical. The incorporation of either sterol progressively decreases the temperature and enthalpy, but not the cooperativity, of the pretransition and completely abolishes it at sterol concentrations above 5 mol %. Moreover, at sterol concentrations of 1 to 20-25 mol %, both androstenol and cholesterol incorporation produce DSC endotherms consisting of superimposed sharp and broad components, the former due to the hydrocarbon chain melting of sterol-poor and the latter to the melting of sterol-rich 14:0 PC domains. The temperature and cooperativity of the sharp component are reduced slightly with increasing concentration of androstenol or cholesterol, and the enthalpy of the sharp component decreases progressively and becomes zero at 20-25 mol % sterol. As well, at cholesterol or androstenol concentrations above 20-25 mol %, the enthalpy of the broad component also decreases linearly with increasing sterol incorporation and becomes zero at sterol levels of about 50 mol %. However, whereas cholesterol incorporation progressively increases the temperature of the broad component of the DSC endotherm, androstenol incorporation decreases the temperature of this component. In contrast, the effects of androstenol and cholesterol incorporation on the thermotropic phase behavior of the intermediate and longer chain PCs studied here are considerably different. Although the incorporation of cholesterol increases the main phase transition temperature of 16:0 PC slightly and decreases the phase transition of 18:0 PC and 21:0 PC, androstenol incorporation decreases the main phase transition temperatures of all three PCs rather markedly. Moreover, androstenol is less effective in reducing the enthalpy and cooperativity of the broad component of the DSC endotherm of 16:0 PC and especially 18:0 PC bilayers in comparison to cholesterol. Androstenol incorporation ( gt 5 mol %) also results in the appearance of a second, low temperature endotherm in the DSC traces of the intermediate and longer chain PC dispersions that is not observed in similar cholesterol/PC dispersions. FTIR and 31P-NMR results suggest that this endotherm arises from a temperature-induced dissolution of androstenol in the gel phase PC bilayers. This second endotherm occurs at lower androstenol concentrations and increases in area at a given androstenol level as the chain length of the host PC bilayer increases. We ascribe the increasing immiscibility of androstenol in both the gel and liquid-crystalline states of PC bilayers of increasing thickness to an increasing degree of hydrophobic mismatch between the androstenol molecule and the host phospholipid bilayer.

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