Thermodynamic characterization of the pretrasition of unilamellar dipalmitoyl-phosphatidylcholine vesicles

Dov Lichtenberg*, Moshe Menashe, Steve Donaldson, Rodney L. Biltonen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


High-sensitivity differential scanning calorimetry of small unilamellar vesicles (SUV) made by sonication of dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) reveals that the gel-liquid crystalline transition at 37 C is preceded by a pretransition at 28 C that is relatively slow (t 1/2≃2-4 min) and has an enthalpy change of ca. 0.2 kcal/mol. On incubation at 4 C, these SUV fuse spontaneously into large unilamellar vesicles (LUV). LUV also exhibit both a pretransition and a main-phase transition. The temperature of the main transition (Tm) and the enthalpy change of both the pretransition and main transition of these fused vesicles are similar to those of large multilamellar vesicles (MLV). The enthalpy change associated with the transition at 28 C decreases in SUV in a manner directly correlated to the decrease in the apparent enthalpy change of the 37 C main transition, indicating that the smaller (low temperature) transition is indeed a pretransition that is an inherent property of SUV. Therefore, unilamellar vesicles of DPPC appear to exhibit a pretransition at a temperature that varies from 28 C for the small vesicles to 35 C for the much larger vesicles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-400
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1984


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