Multilamellar nanovesicles show distinct mechanical properties depending on their degree of lamellarity

Daan Vorselen, Margherita Marchetti, Carmen López-Iglesias, Peter J. Peters, Wouter H. Roos, Gijs J.L. Wuite*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

253 Downloads (Pure)


Small multilamellar vesicles may have benefits over unilamellar vesicles for drug delivery, such as an increased volume for hydrophobic drugs. In addition, their altered mechanical properties might be beneficial for cellular uptake. Here, we show how atomic force microscopy (AFM) can be used to detect and characterize multilamellar vesicles. We quantify the size of each break event occurring during AFM nanoindentations, which shows good agreement with the thickness of supported lipid bilayers. Analyzing the size and number of these events for individual vesicles allows us to distinguish between vesicles consisting of 1 up to 5 bilayers. We validate these results by comparison with correlative cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) data at the vesicle population level. Finally, we quantify the vesicle geometry and mechanical properties, and show that with additional bilayers adherent vesicles are more spherical and stiffer. Surprisingly, at ∼20% stiffening for each additional bilayer, the vesicle stiffness scales only weakly with lamellarity. Our results show the potential of AFM for studying liposomal nanoparticles and suggest that small multilamellar vesicles may have beneficial mechanical properties for cellular uptake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5318-5324
Number of pages7
Issue number11
Early online date26 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Multilamellar nanovesicles show distinct mechanical properties depending on their degree of lamellarity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this