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Volume 21, Issue 1, Pages 43-52

Formation of unilamellar dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine vesicles promoted by Ca2+ ions: A small-angle neutron scattering study

Daniela Uhríková,1 José Teixeira,2 Adrián Lengyel,1 László Almásy,3 and Pavol Balgavý1

1Department of Physical Chemistry of Drugs, Faculty of Pharmacy, Comenius University, Odbojárov 10, 832 32 Bratislava, Slovakia
2Laboratoire Léon Brillouin (CEA-CNRS), CEA Saclay, 911 91 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
3Research Institute for Solid State Physics and Optics, POB 49, Budapest, 1525, Hungary

Copyright © 2007 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) was hydrated in 0.2–60 mM solution of CaCl2 in heavy water and thoroughly homogenized by freezing-thawing process. Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) shows formation of unilamellar vesicles in the range 1–60 mM of CaCl2. From the Kratky–Porod plot ln [I(Q)Q2] vs. Q2 of SANS intensity I(Q) in the range of scattering vectors Q corresponding to the interval 0.001 Å−2≤Q2≤0.006 Å−2, the vesicle bilayer radius of gyration Rg and the bilayer thickness parameter dg were obtained. The structure of the bilayer displays different behavior for the gel phase and the liquid-crystalline phase: In the gel phase (at 20°C), the values of dg indicate nonlinear changes in the lipid bilayer thickness, with a maximum at ~5 mM CaCl2. In the liquid-crystalline phase (at 60°C), the parameter of the lipid bilayer thickness dg=43.2±0.3 Å is constant within the concentration range 1≤cCa≤40 mM. Vesicles prepared at 60 mM CaCl2 show within experimental error, the same values of dg as pure DPPC unilamellar vesicles prepared by extrusion using polycarbonate filter with pores of diameter 500 Å.