Nanostructured Lipid-Based Films for Substrate-Mediated Applications in Biotechnology

March 16, 2018

M. Kang, M. Tuteja, A. Centrone, D. Topgaard, and C. Leal

Key points

  • This study looked into the capabilities of lipid-based films in biotechnology based on certain structures and properties
  • PTIR was used to analyze distribution of paclitaxel, a drug usually difficult to encapsulate and release, in a multilayered lipid-polymer hybrid film with nanostructure
  • It was found that the self-assembled film composition was altered substantially when introduced to paclitaxel, and was able to capture the drug


Amphiphilic in nature, lipids spontaneously self-assemble into a range of nanostructures in the presence of water. Among lipid self-assembled structures, liposomes and supported lipid bilayers have long held scientific interest for their main applications in drug delivery and plasma membrane models, respectively. In contrast, lipid-based multilayered membranes on solid supports only recently begin drawing scientists’ attention. Current studies show that the stacking of multiple bilayers on a solid support yields cooperative structural and dynamic behavior that enables new functionalities. Lipid films provide compartmentalization, templating, and enhanced release of molecules of interest. Importantly, supported lipid phases exhibit long-range periodic nanoscale order and orientation that is tunable in response to a changing environment. Herein, the current understanding of lipid-based film research is summarized focusing on how unique structural characteristics enable the emergence of new applications including label-free biosensors, macroscale drug delivery, and substrate-mediated gene delivery. The authors’ recent contributions focusing on the structural characterization of lipid-based films using small-angle X-ray scattering and atomic force microscopy are highlighted. In addition, new photothermally induced resonance and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance data are described, providing insights into drug partition in lipid-based films as well as structure and dynamics at the molecular scale.

PTIR nanoscale chemical imaging. (A) AFM topography image and (B) AFM contact frequency image of a paclitxel loaded (0.05 molar fraction) hybrid 1:1 molar ratio DPPC/PBDPEO film. The features with higher topography and lower contact frequency identify the polymer reach domains. (C) Normalized FTIR spectra of PBDPEO (green), DPPC (blue, and paclitaxel (red). (A). In addition to the polymer and lipid characteristic bands (1463 and 1730 cm⁻¹), a few distinct and characteristic paclitexel bands indicate that the drug is partitioned in both the polymer and lipid phases.