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Liposomes As Model Cellular Systems



Laurie E. Locascio, Wyatt N. Vreeland, Andreas Jahn, Michael Gaitan


The discovery that phospholipids spontaneously form fluid-filled bubbles when exposed to aqueous solution was first made by Alec Bangham in the early 1960's while studying the effects of phospholipids on blood clotting in the Babraham Institute in England. These tiny spherical fluid-filled bubbles became known as liposomes, a term derived from the Greek word, lipos, meaning fat. In forming liposomes, amphipathic phospholipids self- associate to create a bilayer membrane with a hydrophobic interior (where the long-chain carbon tails aggregate) and hydrophilic exteriors (where the polar headgroups assemble on both sides of the membrane) as shown in Figure 1. A cellular membrane is similarly composed of a phospholipid bilayer membrane but with additional components that include cholesterol and proteins. Therefore, the liposome membrane is the simplest model cell system and can be used to evaluate cellular characteristics such as permeability, stability, and elasticity.
Lab-on-chips for Cellomics: Micro and Nanothechnologies for Life Science
Publisher Info
Kluwer, Dordrecht, NL


liposomes, vesicles, hydrodynamic focusing, nanoparticles, injection method


Locascio, L. , Vreeland, W. , Jahn, A. and Gaitan, M. (2004), Liposomes As Model Cellular Systems, Kluwer, Dordrecht, NL, [online], (Accessed May 19, 2024)


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Created December 20, 2004, Updated October 12, 2021