Lysolipid incorporation in dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine bilayer membranes enhances the ion permeability and drug release rates at the membrane phase transition.
The enhanced permeability of lipid bilayer membranes at their gel-to-liquid phase transition has been explained using a "bilayer lipid heterogeneity" model, postulating leaky interfacial regions between still solid and melting liquid phases. The addition of lysolipid to dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine bilayers dramatically enhances the amount of, and speed at which, encapsulated markers or drugs are released at this, already leaky, phase transition through these interfacial regions. To characterize and attempt to determine the mechanism behind lysolipid-generated permeability enhancement, dithionite permeability and doxorubicin release were measured for lysolipid and non-lysolipid, containing membranes. Rapid release of contents from lysolipid-containing membranes appears to occur through lysolipid-stabilized pores rather than a simple enhancement due to increased drug solubility in the bilayer. A dramatic enhancement in the permeability rate constant begins about two degrees below the calorimetric peak of the thermal transition, and extends several degrees past it. The maximum permeability rate constant coincides exactly with this calorimetric peak. Although some lysolipid desorption from liquid state membranes cannot be dismissed, dialyzation above T(m) and mass spectrometry analysis indicate lysolipid must, and can, remain in the membrane for the permeability enhancement, presumably as lysolipid stabilized pores in the grain boundary regions of the partially melted solid phase.
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