[en] Endothelial cells (HUVEC) were treated with b-cyclodextrin (b-CD) and hydroxypropylated or methylated derivatives solutions to confirm their lack of affinity with phospholipids and their specificity towards cholesterol. Further studies were performed on bovine aortic endothelial cells to assess the effect of b-CDs (mainly methylated derivatives) on membrane microdomains (lipid rafts or caveolae), by detecting the caveolae marker caveolin-1 in fractions of sucrose gradients. A displacement from the lighter to the heavier fractions, characteristic of caveolae disruption, was observed using CDs. The strongest effect was obtained with dimethyl-b-CD, for which an accumulation of caveolin-1 was observed in the bottom of the gradient. Crysmeb and trimethyl-b-CD seemed to have the weaker effects as a significative amount of caveolin-1 was still detected in the light fraction corresponding to caveolae. b-CD and CDs having a degree of methylation a bit lower than 2 showed intermediate effects. The results of the present study on microdomains seem in good correlation with the cell cholesterol extraction capacities of CDs previously determined.