Proceedings

EPJ E - How biological capsules respond under stress

Innovative high-precision measuring tool to assess the bending elasticity of liposomes

Cosmetics and pharmaceutical drug delivery systems could be improved thanks to a new method developed to precisely measure the capability of capsule-like biological membranes to change shape under external stress. This work is outlined in a study published in EPJE by Philippe Méléard and Tanja Pott from the Rennes-based Institute of Chemical Sciences at the European University of Brittany and their colleagues from the Center for Biomembrane Physics at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense.

The authors found that, by using a statistical method, they could evaluate the bending elasticity of biological membrane models, a key factor in understanding their physical properties. They relied on a series of video-microscopy images of giant liposomes, which are artificial spherical vesicles of more than 10 micrometers in diameter made of a bi-layer of fatty substance called lipids. They studied the membrane deformations triggered by thermal agitation of molecules in the liquid surrounding them, over time.

Previous approaches used the average of deformation amplitudes observed in these images, which meant a loss of accuracy of up to 20%. Instead, in this study, the authors focused on evaluating the statistical distribution of the membrane deformation, which yielded unprecedented precision. This method relies on the so-called Maxwell-Boltzman statistical distribution, named after James Clerck Maxwell and Ludwig Boltzmann, who studied the kinetic theory of gas using this approach.

The method presented in this paper could be of interest to industry scientists in devising both cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications. For example, industry often needs to encapsulate products such as cytotoxic cancer drugs or antimicrobial peptides in biological membranes prior to delivering them into patients’ bodies. Ultimately, it could help industry scientists determine what type of biological membrane is best suited for their specific purpose.

Advantages of statistical analysis of giant vesicle flickering for bending elasticity measurements.
P. Méléard et al., Eur. Phys. J. E (2011) 34: 116, DOI 10.1140/epje/i2011-11116-6

We found this possibility of publication very well suited to our needs, the editors were always available with a very efficient follow-up of our demands. All the documents guaranteeing the peer reviewing and the authorizations of publication are clear. The only drawback is the visible contradiction between the author instructions for the word versions and the website for testing the PDF version, but even there the editors help us very quickly and efficiently.

Jean-Marc Bordy, CEA Saclay, France
Co-Editor EPJ Web of Conferences vol. 124, 2016

ISSN: 2100-014X (Electronic Edition)

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