Lipid-alginate interactions render changes in phospholipid bilayer permeability

Smadar Cohen, M. Carmen Bañó, Marie Chow, Robert Langer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Lipid vesicles, e.g. liposomes, generally release their contents in a continuous manner. However, when these vesicles are entrapped in Ca-alginate and coated with poly(l-lysine), they release their contents in an unusual fashion, in 'bursts'. Molecular-level studies indicated that lipid-alginate interactions are responsible for changes in the barrier properties of lipid vesicles. Differential scanning calorimetry revealed that exposure of liposomes to alginate resulted in a 4-fold reduction in the phase transition enthalpy, with no change in the melting temperature. Size-exclusion chromatography of liposomes-in-alginate gave an additional liposomal peak with a smaller elution volume. These studies suggested that alginate is inserted into the lipid bilayer of vesicles. Lipid-alginate interactions were highly dependent on phospholipid head group charge and the phase transition temperature of the phospholipid. Based on these interactions, a mechanism to explain the 'burst' from these entrapped liposomes is suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number1
StatePublished - 18 Mar 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Bilayer permeability
  • Lipid-alginate interaction
  • Microencapsulated liposome system
  • Phospholipid bilayer
  • Pulsatile release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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