Amphotericin B (AmB) is widely used in the treatment of systemic fungal infections, despite its toxic effects. Nephrotoxicity, ascribed as the most serious toxic effect, has been related to the state of aggregation of the antibiotic. In search of the increase in AmB antifungal activity associated with low toxicity, several AmB-amphiphile formulations have been proposed. This work focuses on the structural characterization of a specific AmB formulation: AmB associated with sonicated dioctadecyl dimethylammonium bromide (DODAB) aggregates. Here, it was confirmed that sonicated DODAB dispersion is constituted by DODAB bicelles, and that monomeric AmB is much more soluble in bicelles than in DODAB vesicles. A new optical parameter is proposed for the estimation of the relative amount of amphiphile-bound monomeric AmB. With theoretical simulations of the spectra of spin labels incorporated in DODAB bicelles it was possible to prove that monomeric AmB binds preferentially to lipids located at the edges of DODAB bicelles, rigidifying them, and decreasing the polarity of the region. That special binding of monomeric AmB along the borders of bicelles, where the lipids are highly disorganized, could be used in the formulation of other carriers for the antibiotic, including mixtures of natural lipids which are known to form bicelles. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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