Inhibition of cholesterol transport into skin cells in cultures by phytosterol-loaded microemulsion

S. Rozner, L. Verkhovski, Y. Nissimov, A. Aserin, R. Vilensky, D. Danino, C. C. Zouboulis, Y. Milner*, N. Garti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Cholesterol and plant phytosterols are lipophilic compounds solubilized by intestinal micelles in a competitive manner. In this work, we used radioactive cholesterol- and phytosterol-loaded oil-in-water microemulsions to follow their incorporation and mutual competition in HaCaT keratinocytes, SZ95 sebocytes, and skin pieces in cultures. Dynamic light scattering showed homogenous nanostructures of 10.5 ± 1.5 nm diameter and cryo-transmission electron microscopy confirmed the presence of uniform spherical droplets of 7.0 ± 1.0 nm diameter. Up to 320 nmol/ml of cholesterol can be solubilized and transported into cells with minimal toxic effect by 0.5 wt% nanodroplets in a cell medium. Phytosterols inhibit incorporation of cholesterol into cells, in vitro, at molar ratios (phytosterols/cholesterol) of 4 and above. The loaded nanodroplets accumulate in intracellular vesicles (presumably endosomes). No metabolic conversion of cholesterol or phytosterols was found in these cells, in vitro, after 24 h, at 37 °C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalChemistry and Physics of Lipids
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Incorporation
  • Keratinocyte cells
  • Metabolism
  • Microemulsion
  • Phytosterols
  • Skin cultures


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