Chemistry and physics of lipids

The oxysterol 3β-hydroxy-5-oxo-5,6-secocholestan-6-al changes the phase behavior and structure of phosphatidylethanolamine-phosphatidylcholine mixtures.

PMID 21762682


An oxidized form of cholesterol, atheronal, is a form found in vivo that has been associated with human pathologies. We have studied mixtures of this oxidized sterol with the phospholipids phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylcholine. We used phospholipids either with palmitoyl and oleoyl acyl chains on the C1 and C2 carbon atoms of glycerol or with both acyl chains being palmitoleoyl. We also compared the effects of atheronal on the curvature properties of these lipids with the action of cholesterol. We studied the bilayer to hexagonal phase transition temperature of mixtures of these lipids using differential scanning calorimetry as well as the dimensions of the hexagonal phase cylinders using X-ray diffraction. Disordering of the lamellar phase was also qualitatively assessed by the loss of sharp diffraction peaks. Our results demonstrate that the modulation of membrane curvature in these systems depends not only on the nature of the sterol, but also on the acyl chain composition of the phospholipids used. In addition, some of the effects of atheronal could be ascribed to reaction of the aldehyde and ketone groups of this oxidized sterol with the amino group of phosphatidylethanolamine.