Influence of Cholesterol on the Transport Properties of Bilayer Lipid Membranes

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Physics

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Daniel Fologea


The overall implications of high concentrations of cholesterol in the body are widely known. However, many of these implications have not been thoroughly studied at the molecular/cellular levels. Cell membranes are responsible for crucial metabolic functions, such as nutrient transport, signaling and movement of ions. The concentration of cholesterol in the cell membrane affects several factors such as its rigidity, fluidity, and permeability. The goal of this project is to analyze how cholesterol affects the rate of transport of organic ions. To investigate the influence of cholesterol on the transport of organic ions, we prepared artificial Bilayer Lipid Membranes (BLM) with different concentrations of cholesterol (between 0% and 50%, molar ratio). Membrane formation and integrity was monitored by conductance and capacitance measurements. The rate of ionic transport was assessed for a few select organic ions from the I-V characteristics recorded in the range +/-60 mV. The observed modulation of membrane conductance as a function of cholesterol content may help researchers better understand the implications of high cholesterol concentrations in the cell membranes.

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