In the present investigation we studied the molecular mechanisms of the monodesmosidic saponin digitonin on natural and artificial membranes. We measured the hemolytic activity of digitonin on red blood cells (RBCs). Also different lipid membrane models (large unilamellar vesicles, LUVs, and giant unilamellar vesicles, GUVs) in the presence and absence of cholesterol were employed. The stability and permeability of the different vesicle systems were studied by using calcein release assay, GUVs membrane permeability assay using confocal microscopy (CM) and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) and vesicle size measurement by dynamic light scattering (DLS). The results support the essential role of cholesterol in explaining how digitonin can disintegrate biological and artificial membranes. Digitonin induces membrane permeability or causes membrane rupturing only in the presence of cholesterol in an all-or-none mechanism. This effect depends on the concentrations of both digitonin and cholesterol. At low concentrations, digitonin induces membrane permeability while keeping the membrane intact. When digitonin is combined with oth ... mehrer drugs, a synergistic potentiation can be observed because it facilitates their uptake.