Partitioning of ethanol into lipid membranes and its effect on fluidity and permeability as seen by X-ray and neutron scattering

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1039/c2sm26546j
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TypeArticle
Journal titleSoft Matter
ISSN1744-683X
1744-6848
Volume8
Issue47
Pages1183911849
AbstractWe present a combined neutron and X-ray scattering investigation to study the effect of ethanol on the molecular structure and dynamics of lipid membranes. 1,2-Dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phoshatidylcholine (DMPC) powder hydrated with a 5 wt% ethanol solution (corresponding to 2 mol% of ethanol) was used in this study. From high-resolution X-ray experiments the position and partitioning of the ethanol molecules in the phospholipid bilayers was determined in their gel and fluid phases. We find that the ethanol molecules reside in the head group region of the bilayers, with 1.6 ethanol molecules per lipid molecule in the gel phase and 1.2 ethanol molecules per lipid molecule in the fluid phase. We find evidence for enhanced permeability in both fluid and gel phases of the phospholipid bilayers in the presence of ethanol molecules. Elastic and quasi-elastic neutron scattering data, obtained using a neutron backscattering spectrometer, was used to study slow, nanosecond molecular dynamics on length scales corresponding to lipid diffusion, acyl chain dynamics and solvent dynamics. While the presence of ethanol molecules had no observable effect on these types of dynamics in the fluid (Lα) phase, the membranes appeared to have a higher degree of order in gel (Lβ) and ripple (Pβ′) phases. In particular, lipid diffusion was found to be slower by a factor of two in the more rigid gel phase when ethanol was present.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNRC Canadian Neutron Beam Centre; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21268966
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Record identifier5f68ff31-7903-4723-a29d-c5ab947153af
Record created2013-11-28
Record modified2016-05-09
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