Small unilamellar vesicles formed from four cationic lipids in the absence and the presence of varying amounts of cholesterol were studied using fluorescence polarization and 1H-NMR techniques. The fluorescence polarization data clearly indicate that the packing order in the cationic lipid bilayers are affected by inclusion of cholesterol. Importantly, this effect exists also with a cationic lipid that is devoid of any formal linkage region where the interaction of the lipid with cholesterol through hydrogen bonding is not feasible. The interactions of cholesterol with different types of cationic lipids in excess water have also been examined in multilamellar dispersions using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. In all the cases, the methylene proton linewidths in the NMR spectra respond to the addition of cholesterol to vesicles. Hydrophobic association of the lipid and cholesterol imposes restriction on the chain (CH2)(n) motions, leaving the terminal CH3 groups relatively mobile. On the basis of energy-minimized structural models, a rationale of the cholesterol-cationic lipid assembly has also been presented.
Bhattacharya, S., & Haldar, S. (1996). The effects of cholesterol inclusion on the vesicular membranes of cationic lipids. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes, 1283(1), 21–30. https://doi.org/10.1016/0005-2736(96)00064-8