Medical College of Wisconsin
CTSICores SearchResearch InformaticsREDCap

Cholesterol Bilayer Domains in the Eye Lens Health: A Review. Cell Biochem Biophys 2017 Dec;75(3-4):387-398



Pubmed ID


Pubmed Central ID





The most unique biochemical characteristic of the eye lens fiber cell plasma membrane is its extremely high cholesterol content, the need for which is still unclear. It is evident, however, that the disturbance of Chol homeostasis may result in damages associated with cataracts. Electron paramagnetic resonance methods allow discrimination of two types of lipid domains in model membranes overloaded with Chol, namely, phospholipid-cholesterol domains and pure Chol bilayer domains. These domains are also detected in human lens lipid membranes prepared from the total lipids extracted from lens cortices and nuclei of donors from different age groups. Independent of the age-related changes in phospholipid composition, the physical properties of phospholipid-Chol domains remain the same for all age groups and are practically identical for cortical and nuclear membranes. The presence of Chol bilayer domains in these membranes provides a buffering capacity for cholesterol concentration in the surrounding phospholipid-Chol domains, keeping it at a constant saturating level and thus keeping the physical properties of the membrane consistent with and independent of changes in phospholipid composition. It seems that the presence of Chol bilayer domains plays an integral role in the regulation of cholesterol-dependent processes in fiber cell plasm membranes and in the maintenance of fiber cell membrane homeostasis.

Author List

Widomska J, Subczynski WK, Mainali L, Raguz M


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

Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
Lens, Crystalline
Lipid Bilayers
Membrane Fluidity