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Liquid Crystalline Behaviour in Mixtures of Cholesterol with Steroid Hormones


THE liquid crystalline behaviour of mixtures of cholesterol with glycerol and cetyl alcohol has been reported by Mlodziejowski1, cholesterol molecules being “plasticized” by the molecules of glycerol or cetyl alcohol. Although cholesterol itself is not mesomorphic, all cholesterol esters have characteristic mesophases. It is possible that the hydrogen bonding in pure cholesterol is responsible for the high melting point because the presence of glycerol or cetyl alcohol molecules may provide alternative sites to which hydroxyl groups of the cholesterol molecules hydrogen can bond without imposing a high melting temperature on the crystal lattice but having a sufficiently strong inter-molecular attraction to make an anisotropic melt possible.

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SNART, R. Liquid Crystalline Behaviour in Mixtures of Cholesterol with Steroid Hormones. Nature 215, 957–958 (1967).

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