Alterations in the organization of phosphatidylcholine/cholesterol bilayers by tetrahydrocannabinol
Journal of Biological Chemistry
The interactions of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with various phosphatidylcholines (PCs) was studied in model membranes by differential scanning calorimetry. THC present in PC bilayers above a certain concentration complexed stoichiometrically with phospholipids containing both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. When the bilayer PCs were sufficiently dissimilar for phase separation to occur, THC preferentially associated with the lower melting point lipid. The presence of cholesterol
... nce of cholesterol below 20 mol% in dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine bilayers enhanced THC X PC complex formation. Above 20 mol% cholesterol, there was no indication of THC X dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine complex formation. This is in agreement with a phase rearrangement occurring in PC bilayers at concentrations of cholesterol of approximately 20 mol%. These studies suggest several possible mechanisms for the modulation of membrane activities by hydrophobic drugs such as THC.