Nonspherical liposomes were prepared by doping L-alpha-phosphatidylcholine (PC) with ceramide VI (a skin lipid). Cryo-transmission electron microscopy shows the liposome shape changing from spherical to an undulating tubular morphology, when the amount of ceramide VI is increased. The formation of tubular liposomes is energetically favorable and is attributed to the association of ceramide VI with PC creating regions of lower curvature. Since ceramides are the major component of skin lipids in the stratum corneum, tubular liposomes containing ceramide may potentially serve as self-enhanced nanocarriers for transdermal delivery.
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