Cyclodextrins for Probing Plasma Membrane Lipids

  • Amid Vahedi
  • Amir M. FarnoudEmail author
Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


Cyclodextrins are cyclic molecules with a hydrophilic external structure and a hydrophobic internal cavity. Due to their chemical structure, cyclodextrins can form complexes with hydrophobic or amphiphilic molecules, including lipids. This property has resulted in the widespread use of cyclodextrins for characterization and manipulation of lipids in biological membranes. In this chapter, the use of cyclodextrins for characterization of lipids in the cell plasma membrane is discussed. First, the chemical structure of different cyclodextrins is explained. Then, the current knowledge on the mechanisms of cyclodextrin–lipid interaction and the role of cyclodextrin and lipid chemical structure in the outcome of such interactions is summarized. The use of cyclodextrins for manipulation of plasma membrane lipids and its application to study membrane lipid rafts is also reviewed. Finally, future directions in the field and current opportunities to utilize cyclodextrins to provide a better understanding of the composition and organization of lipids in the plasma membrane are discussed.


Cyclodextrin Cholesterol Phospholipids Plasma membrane Lipid rafts 









Dimyristoyl phosphocholine


Dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine


Dipalmitoyl phosphoethanolamine


Distearoyl phosphocholine


Giant unilamellar vesicle






Large unilamellar vesicle
















Small unilamellar vesicles





This work was supported by the NIH award R15ES030140 to AF.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringOhio UniversityAthensUSA

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