Monocytic cell-induced phase transformation of circulating lipid-based liquid crystalline nanosystems

Angel Tan, Yuen Yi Lam, Xiaohan Sun, Ben J Boyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Both lamellar and non-lamellar configurations are naturally present in bio-membranes, and the synthetic lipid-based liquid crystalline nano-assemblies, mimicking these unique structures, (including liposomes, cubosomes and hexosomes) are applicable in the controlled delivery of bioactives. However, it remains uncertain whether these nanosystems retain their original phase identity upon contact with blood circulating cells. This study highlights a novel biological cell flow-through approach at the synchrotron-based small angle X-ray scattering facility (bio-SAXS) to unravel their real-time phase evolution when incubated with human monocytic cells (THP-1) in suspension. Phytantriol-based cubosomes were identified to undergo monocytic cell-induced phase transformation from cubic to hexagonal phase periodicity. On the contrary, hexosomes exhibited time-dependent growth of a swollen hexagonal phase (i.e., larger lattice parameters) without displaying alternative phase characteristics. Similarly, liposomes remained undetectable for any newly evolved phase identity. Consequently, this novel in situ bio-SAXS study concept is valuable in delivering new important insights into the bio-fates of various lipid-based nanosystems under simulated human systemic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1013
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2020


  • Cell interaction
  • Lipid-based liquid crystalline nanosystem
  • Phase behaviour
  • Self-assembly
  • Synchrotron small angle X-ray scattering

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