• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of biophysjLink to Publisher's site
Biophys J. Mar 1994; 66(3 Pt 1): 763–768.
PMCID: PMC1275774

Cholesterol modifies water concentration and dynamics in phospholipid bilayers: a fluorescence study using Laurdan probe.


The effect of cholesterol on the gel, the liquid-crystalline, and mixed phospholipid phases has been studied using the fluorescence properties of 2-dimethylamino-6-lauroylnaphthalene (Laurdan). Laurdan sensitivity to the polarity and to the dynamics of its environment reveals that cholesterol affects phospholipid bilayers in the gel phase by expelling water and by increasing the amount of dipolar relaxation. In the liquid-crystalline phase, the effect of cholesterol is a reduction of both water concentration and amount of dipolar relaxation. Detailed studies of Laurdan excitation and emission spectral contours as a function of cholesterol concentration show that there are some cholesterol concentrations at which Laurdan spectral properties changes discontinuously. These peculiar cholesterol concentrations are in agreement with recent observations of other workers showing the formation of local order in the liquid-crystalline phase of phospholipids upon addition of phospholipid derivatives of pyrene. A local organization of phospholipids around cholesterol molecule seems to be produced by the presence of peculiar concentrations of cholesterol itself. This local organization is stable enough to be observed during the excited state lifetime of Laurdan of approximately 5-6 ns.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.2M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Chong PL. Effects of hydrostatic pressure on the location of PRODAN in lipid bilayers and cellular membranes. Biochemistry. 1988 Jan 12;27(1):399–404. [PubMed]
  • Ipsen JH, Karlström G, Mouritsen OG, Wennerström H, Zuckermann MJ. Phase equilibria in the phosphatidylcholine-cholesterol system. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1987 Nov 27;905(1):162–172. [PubMed]
  • Keough KM, Giffin B, Matthews PL. Phosphatidylcholine-cholesterol interactions: bilayers of heteroacid lipids containing linoleate lose calorimetric transitions at low cholesterol concentration. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1989 Jul 24;983(1):51–55. [PubMed]
  • Kumar VV. Complementary molecular shapes and additivity of the packing parameter of lipids. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Jan 15;88(2):444–448. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Levine YK, Wilkins MH. Structure of oriented lipid bilayers. Nat New Biol. 1971 Mar 17;230(11):69–72. [PubMed]
  • Mortensen K, Pfeiffer W, Sackmann E, Knoll W. Structural properties of a phosphatidylcholine-cholesterol system as studied by small-angle neutron scattering: ripple structure and phase diagram. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1988 Nov 22;945(2):221–245. [PubMed]
  • Mouritsen OG. Theoretical models of phospholipid phase transitions. Chem Phys Lipids. 1991 Mar;57(2-3):179–194. [PubMed]
  • Nemecz G, Schroeder F. Time-resolved fluorescence investigation of membrane cholesterol heterogeneity and exchange. Biochemistry. 1988 Oct 4;27(20):7740–7749. [PubMed]
  • Parasassi T, De Stasio G, Ravagnan G, Rusch RM, Gratton E. Quantitation of lipid phases in phospholipid vesicles by the generalized polarization of Laurdan fluorescence. Biophys J. 1991 Jul;60(1):179–189. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Parasassi T, De Stasio G, d'Ubaldo A, Gratton E. Phase fluctuation in phospholipid membranes revealed by Laurdan fluorescence. Biophys J. 1990 Jun;57(6):1179–1186. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Parasassi T, Di Stefano M, Loiero M, Ravagnan G, Gratton E. Influence of cholesterol on phospholipid bilayers phase domains as detected by Laurdan fluorescence. Biophys J. 1994 Jan;66(1):120–132. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Parasassi T, Ravagnan G, Rusch RM, Gratton E. Modulation and dynamics of phase properties in phospholipid mixtures detected by Laurdan fluorescence. Photochem Photobiol. 1993 Mar;57(3):403–410. [PubMed]
  • Sankaram MB, Thompson TE. Modulation of phospholipid acyl chain order by cholesterol. A solid-state 2H nuclear magnetic resonance study. Biochemistry. 1990 Nov 27;29(47):10676–10684. [PubMed]
  • Sankaram MB, Thompson TE. Interaction of cholesterol with various glycerophospholipids and sphingomyelin. Biochemistry. 1990 Nov 27;29(47):10670–10675. [PubMed]
  • Somerharju PJ, Virtanen JA, Eklund KK, Vainio P, Kinnunen PK. 1-Palmitoyl-2-pyrenedecanoyl glycerophospholipids as membrane probes: evidence for regular distribution in liquid-crystalline phosphatidylcholine bilayers. Biochemistry. 1985 May 21;24(11):2773–2781. [PubMed]
  • Subczynski WK, Antholine WE, Hyde JS, Kusumi A. Microimmiscibility and three-dimensional dynamic structures of phosphatidylcholine-cholesterol membranes: translational diffusion of a copper complex in the membrane. Biochemistry. 1990 Aug 28;29(34):7936–7945. [PubMed]
  • Tampé R, von Lukas A, Galla HJ. Glycophorin-induced cholesterol-phospholipid domains in dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine bilayer vesicles. Biochemistry. 1991 May 21;30(20):4909–4916. [PubMed]
  • Tang D, Chong PL. E/M dips. Evidence for lipids regularly distributed into hexagonal super-lattices in pyrene-PC/DMPC binary mixtures at specific concentrations. Biophys J. 1992 Oct;63(4):903–910. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • van Langen H, van Ginkel G, Shaw D, Levine YK. The fidelity of response by 1-[4-(trimethylammonio)phenyl]-6-phenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene in time-resolved fluorescence anisotropy measurements on lipid vesicles. Effects of unsaturation, headgroup and cholesterol on orientational order and reorientational dynamics. Eur Biophys J. 1989;17(1):37–48. [PubMed]
  • Vist MR, Davis JH. Phase equilibria of cholesterol/dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine mixtures: 2H nuclear magnetic resonance and differential scanning calorimetry. Biochemistry. 1990 Jan 16;29(2):451–464. [PubMed]
  • Weber G, Farris FJ. Synthesis and spectral properties of a hydrophobic fluorescent probe: 6-propionyl-2-(dimethylamino)naphthalene. Biochemistry. 1979 Jul 10;18(14):3075–3078. [PubMed]
  • Yeagle PL. Cholesterol and the cell membrane. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1985 Dec 9;822(3-4):267–287. [PubMed]

Articles from Biophysical Journal are provided here courtesy of The Biophysical Society


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Compound
    PubChem Compound links
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...