The permeability of multicomponent phospholipid bilayers in the gel phase is investigated via molecular dynamics simulation. The physical role of the different molecules is probed by comparing multiple mixed-component bilayers containing distearylphosphatidylcholine (DSPC) with varying amounts of either the emollient isostearyl isostearate or long-chain alcohol (dodecanol, octadecanol, or tetracosanol) molecules. Permeability is found to depend on both the tail packing density and hydrogen bonding between lipid headgroups and water. Whereas the addition of emollient or alcohol molecules to a gel-phase DSPC bilayer can increase the tail packing density, it also disturbed the hydrogen-bonding network, which in turn can increase interfacial water dynamics. These phenomena have opposing effects on bilayer permeability, which is found to depend on the balance between enhanced tail packing and decreased hydrogen bonding.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry