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Properties of membranes derived from the total lipids extracted from clear and cataractous lenses of 61-70-year-old human donors. Eur Biophys J 2015 Feb;44(1-2):91-102



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Human lens-lipid membranes prepared from the total lipids extracted from clear and cataractous lens cortexes and nuclei of 61-70-year-old donors by use of a rapid solvent-exchange method were investigated. The measured cholesterol-to-phospholipid (Chol/PL) molar ratio in these membranes was 1.8 and 4.4 for cortex and nucleus of clear lenses, respectively, and 1.14 and 1.45 for cataractous lenses. Properties and organization of the lipid bilayer were investigated by use of electron paramagnetic resonance spin-labeling methods. Formation of Chol crystals was confirmed by use of differential scanning calorimetry. Pure cholesterol bilayer domains (CBDs) were formed in all the membranes investigated. It was shown that in clear lens membranes of the nucleus, Chol exists in three different environments: (1) dispersed in phospholipid bilayers (PCDs), (2) in CBDs, and (3) in Chol crystals. In clear lens membranes of the cortex, and in cortical and nuclear cataractous lens membranes, Chol crystals were not detected, because of the lower Chol content. Profiles of membrane properties (alkyl-chain order, fluidity, oxygen transport, and hydrophobicity) across the PCD were very similar for clear and cataractous membranes. Profiles of the oxygen transport parameter across the CBD were, however, different for cortical clear and cataractous membranes-the amount and size of CBDs was less in cataractous membranes. These results suggest that high Chol content, formation of CBDs, and formation of Chol crystals should not be regarded as major predispositions for the development of age-related cataracts.

Author List

Mainali L, Raguz M, O'Brien WJ, Subczynski WK


Witold K. Subczynski PhD Professor in the Biophysics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Lens Cortex, Crystalline
Lipid Bilayers
Middle Aged