Cholesterol PEG

Cholesterol PEG is a combination of cholesterol, a sterol molecule found in cell membranes, and polyethylene glycol (PEG), a water-soluble biocompatible polymer. This binding is achieved by covalently attaching PEG chains to the hydroxyl groups of cholesterol. The resulting cholesterol PEG conjugates have unique physicochemical properties with significant solubility in aqueous media. The molecular weight and size of the PEG chains can be varied, providing the flexibility to tailor the properties of the cholesterol PEG to specific requirements. The length and branching of the PEG chain, as well as the location of the linkage to the cholesterol, affects the stability and cycling time of the conjugate. For example, a PEG chain attached to cholesterol through a diamino-butane spacer group can reduce interactions with serum proteins more effectively than a direct attachment.

Synthetic scheme of functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles Chol-PEG-SNPFig. 1. Synthetic scheme of functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles Chol-PEG-SNP (Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology, 2023: 104736).

Structural Characterization

The structural features of cholesterol PEGs play a critical role in their function and application. The attachment of the PEG chain to cholesterol enhances its hydrophilicity and creates a spatial barrier that reduces its tendency to aggregate. This spatial barrier prevents cholesterol PEG from interacting with proteins and other biomolecules, thereby increasing its stability and minimizing immunogenicity. The cholesterol portion of cholesterol PEG retains its lipid-like properties, facilitating its incorporation into lipid bilayers and cell membranes.

Functions of Cholesterol PEG

Cholesterol PEG exhibits a variety of functions due to its unique structure. One notable function is its role as a drug delivery carrier. Due to its amphiphilic nature, cholesterol PEG can self-assemble into micelles or liposomes that encapsulate hydrophobic drugs within a hydrophobic core, while the hydrophilic PEG chains form a protective shell. This drug delivery system improves therapeutic efficacy by increasing the solubility and stability of the drug, enhancing its bioavailability, and providing sustained release kinetics.

Applications of Cholesterol PEG

Cholesterol PEG conjugates have been explored for various applications in drug delivery and biotechnology. For example, liposomes coated with cholesterol PEG have been used to deliver drugs to tumors because the PEG coating reduces their uptake by the reticuloendothelial system (RES) and increases their accumulation in tumor tissue. Cholesterol PEG conjugates have also been used to enhance the solubility and bioavailability of difficult-to-solve drugs such as paclitaxel and curcumin. In addition, cholesterol PEG conjugates have been used for surface functionalization in biomedical applications such as biosensors and implant coatings.

Advantages of Cholesterol PEG

Cholesterol PEG offers several advantages over other polyethylene glycolized lipids. The presence of cholesterol in the affix provides cohesion of the liposome bilayer and increases the half-life of the liposome in vivo. In addition, cholesterol is a natural component of cell membranes, making cholesterol PEG conjugates more biocompatible than other PEG lipids. The choice of bonding and structure of the cholesterol PEG also affects its properties, allowing it to be customized for specific applications.

BOC Sciences offers a wide range of cholesterol PEG compounds for research and development purposes. The high purity of our conjugates ensures reproducible results for research and development. In addition to our expertise in cholesterol PEGs, BOC Sciences offers a full range of research and development services, including chemical synthesis, assay development and drug screening. Our commitment to advancing scientific knowledge and driving innovation sets us apart in our industry.


  1. Al-Nadaf, A.H, et al. Raloxifene's in vitro anticancer effects against MCF-7 cells were facilitated by cholesterol-PEG functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles. Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology. 2023: 104736.

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PEGylation of Peptides and Proteins

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Reduce the Immunogenicity of Peptide/Protein Drugs

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