Heliyon, 2019, vol 5, 10, pp. e02648
Lauric acid (LAH) strongly inhibits the growth of acne-causing bacteria. LAH is essentially water-insoluble and the solubility of laurate (LA) salts are medium and temperature dependent. Hence, LAH/LA preparations are difficult to formulate. Here we fully characterized phospholipid vesicles containing up to 50 mol% LAH. Vesicles of dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) containing LAH, at pHs 7.4 and 5.0, were characterized measuring size, charge, bilayer phase transition temperature (Tm) and permeability of water-soluble probes. Small angle X-ray scattering and cryotransmission electron microscopy showed multilamellar vesicles at low LAH %. Increasing LAH % had a negligible effect on particle size. An internal aqueous compartment in all vesicle’s preparations, even at equimolar DPPC: LAH fractions, was demonstrated using water-soluble probes. At pH 5.0, the interaction between DPPC and LAH increased the Tm and phase transition cooperativity showing a single lipid phase formed by hydrogen-bonded DPPC: LAH complexes. At pH 7.4, vesicles containing 50 mol% LAH exhibited distinct phases, ascribed to complex formation between LAH and LA or LAH and DPPC. LAH incorporated in the vesicles minimally permeated a skin preparation at both pHs, indicating that the primary sites of LAH solubilization were the skin layers. These results provide the foundations for developing processes and products containing DPPC: LAH.