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Cholesterol Bilayer Domains in the Eye Lens Health: A Review

Authors
  • Widomska, Justyna1
  • Subczynski, Witold K.2
  • Mainali, Laxman2
  • Raguz, Marija2, 3
  • 1 Medical University of Lublin, Department of Biophysics, Lublin, Poland , Lublin (Poland)
  • 2 Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Biophysics, Milwaukee, USA , Milwaukee (United States)
  • 3 University of Split, Department of Medical Physics and Biophysics, Split, Croatia , Split (Croatia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Jun 29, 2017
Volume
75
Issue
3-4
Pages
387–398
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s12013-017-0812-7
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

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.

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