Alkylphosphocholines (APCs) belong to a class of synthetic antitumor lipids, which are new-generation anticancer agents. In contrast to traditional antitumor drugs, they do not attack the cell nucleus but, rather, the cellular membrane; however, their mechanism of action is not fully understood. This work compared the interactions of selected APCs [namely, hexadecylphosphocholine (miltefosine), octadecylphosphocholine and erucylphosphocholine] with the most important membrane lipids [cholesterol, 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) and 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC)] and examined their influence on a model membrane of tumor and normal cells. As a simple model of membranes, Langmuir monolayers prepared by mixing cholesterol either with a saturated phosphatidylcholine (DPPC), for a normal cell membrane, or with an unsaturated one (POPC), for a tumor cell membrane, have been applied. The APC–lipid interactions, based on experimental surface pressure (π) versus mean molecular area (A) isotherms, were analyzed qualitatively (with mean molecular area values) as well as quantitatively (with the ΔG exc function). Strong attractive interactions were observed for mixtures of APCs with cholesterol, contrary to the investigated phosphatidylcholines, for which the interactions were found to be weak with a tendency to separation of film components. In ternary monolayers it has been found that the investigated model systems (cholesterol/DPPC/APC vs cholesterol/POPC/APC) differ significantly as regards the interactions between film-forming molecules. The results demonstrate stronger interactions between the components of cholesterol/POPC/APC monolayers compared to cholesterol/POPC film, mimicking tumor cell membranes. In contrast, the interactions in cholesterol/DPPC/APC films were found to be weaker than those in the cholesterol/DPPC system, serving as a model of healthy cell membranes, thus proving that the incorporation of APCs is, from a thermodynamic point of view, unfavorable for binary cholesterol/DPPC monolayers. It can be concluded that the composition of healthy cell membranes is a natural barrier preventing the incorporation of APCs into normal cells.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: May 15, 2013
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