The Mechanics of Axially Symmetric Liposomes

[+] Author and Article Information
D. C. Pamplona

Department of Civil Engineering, PUC-RJ, Rio de Janeiro CEP 22453, Brasil

C. R. Calladine

Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 1PZ, U.K.

J Biomech Eng 115(2), 149-159 (May 01, 1993) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2894115 History: Received April 02, 1991; Revised August 13, 1992; Online March 17, 2008


Hotani has filmed morphological transformations in unilamellar liposomes, starting from a spherical shape, when the interior volume decreases steadily. Hotani’s liposomes showed no evidence of general thermal fluctuations. We use a finite-deformation theory of axisymmetric, quasi-static thin shells to analyze theoretically bifurcations and changes of shape in liposomes under decreasing volume. The main structural action in a lipid bilayer is generally agreed to be its elastic resistance to bending, and it is usual to regard surface deformation as being like that of a two-dimensional liquid. We find, however, that some in-plane shear elasticity is also needed in order to produce the observed post-bifurcation behavior. Such an elasticity would be difficult to measure directly.

Copyright © 1993 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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