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Eur Biophys J. 2011 Feb;40(2):153-63. doi: 10.1007/s00249-010-0635-6. Epub 2010 Oct 27.

The effects of cholesterol and β-sitosterol on the structure of saturated diacylphosphatidylcholine bilayers.

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  • 1Department of Physical Chemistry of Drugs, Faculty of Pharmacy, Comenius University, 83232 Bratislava, Slovakia.


The structures of DMPC and DPPC bilayers in unilamellar liposomes, in the presence of 33.3 mol% cholesterol or the plant sterol β-sitosterol, have been studied by small-angle neutron scattering. The bilayer thickness d(L) increases in a similar way for both sterols. The repeat distance in multilamellar liposomes, as determined by small-angle X-ray diffraction, is larger in the presence of β-sitosterol than in the presence of cholesterol. We observe that each sterol modifies the interlamellar water layer differently, cholesterol reducing its thickness more efficiently than β-sitosterol, and conclude that cholesterol suppresses bilayer undulations more effectively than β-sitosterol.

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