A liposome is a lipid bilayer in the form of a sphere which encapsulates a region of aqueous solution.
The name liposome is derived from two Greek words: 'Lipos' meaning fat and 'Soma' meaning body. The basic structure of the bilayer in liposomes is identical to the one in cell membranes; two layers of phospholipids with the hydrophobic tails pointed inwards and the hydrophilic heads at the surface, interacting with the solution.
As liposomes are versatile vesicles with respect to size and structure, they are frequently used by pharmaceutical companies for drug delivery. This is possible as they are able to transport hydrophobic molecules within their bilayer and hydrophilic molecules within the enclosed solution. The delivery of the drug into cells is done by the liposome bilayer fusing with the cell membrane and releasing the contents within the cell.
- ↑ Peter Walter, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts, Alexander Johnson, Bruce Alberts (2007), Molecular Biology of the Cell 5th Edition, Garland Publishing Inc, Chapter 10
- ↑ Raphael Michel, Tobias Plostica, Ludmila Abezgauz, Dganit Danino and Michael Gradzielski (2013), Control of the stability and structure of liposomes by means of nanoparticles. Soft Matter:9:4167-4177