High-Resolution Proton and Carbon-13 NMR of Membranes: Why Sonicate?

Eric Oldfield, John L. Bowers, Jeffrey Forbes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have obtained high-field (11.7-T) proton and carbon-13 Fourier transform (FT) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra of egg lecithin and egg lecithin-cholesterol (1:1) multibilayers, using “magic-angle” sample spinning (MASS) techniques, and sonicated egg lecithin and egg lecithin-cholesterol (1:1) vesicles, using conventional FT NMR methods. Resolution of the proton and carbon-13 MASS NMR spectra of the pure egg lecithin samples is essentially identical with that of sonicated samples, but spectra of the unsonicated lipid, using MASS, can be obtained very much faster than with the more dilute, sonicated systems. With the 1:1 lecithin-cholesterol systems, proton MASS NMR spectra are virtually identical with conventional FT spectra of sonicated samples, while with 13C NMR, we demonstrate that most 13C nuclei in the cholesterol moiety can be monitored, even though these same nuclei are essentially invisible, i.e., are severely broadened, in the corresponding sonicated systems. In addition, 13C MASS NMR spectra can again be recorded much faster than with sonicated samples, due to concentration effects. Taken together, these results strongly suggest there will seldom be need in the future to resort to ultrasonic disruption of lipid bilayer membranes in order to obtain high-resolution proton or carbon-13 NMR spectra.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6919-6923
Number of pages5
Issue number22
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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