A general model for the interaction of foreign molecules with lipid membranes: drugs and anaesthetics

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A general microscopic interaction model is proposed to describe the changes in the physical properties of phospholipid bilayer membranes due to foreign molecules which, to different degrees, partition between the membrane phases and the aqueous environment. The model is a multi-state lattice model for the main phase transition of lipid bilayers and the foreign molecules are assumed to intercalate as interstitials in the lattice. By varying the model parameters, the diversity in the thermodynamic properties of the model is explored using computer-simulation techniques which faithfully take account of the thermal fluctuations. The calculations are performed in both the canonical and the grand canonical ensembles corresponding to the cases where the concentration of foreign molecules in the membrane is either fixed or varies as the external conditions are changed. A classification of the diverse thermal behaviour, specifically with regard to the phase diagram, the specific heat, the density fluctuations, and the partition coefficient, is suggested with a view to rationalizing a large body of experimental measurements of the effects of different foreign molecules on membrane properties. The range of foreign molecules considered includes compounds as diverse as volatile general anaesthetics like halothane, cocaine-derived local anaesthetics like procaine, calcium-channel blocking drugs like verapamil, antidepressants like chlorpromazine, and anti-cancer agents like adriamycin.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)227-238
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Anaesthetic, Density fluctuation, Drug, Interface, Lipid bilayer, Molecular interaction, Phase diagram, Phase transition

ID: 236893271