Probing nanomechanical interaction at the interface between biological membrane and potentially toxic chemical

Lim, C., Park, S., Park, J., Ko, J., Lee, D. W., & Hwang, D. S.

Journal of hazardous materials 353 (2018): 271-279.

Various xenobiotics interact with biological membranes, and precise evaluations of the molecular interactions between them are essential to foresee the toxicity and bioavailability of existing or newly synthesized molecules. In this study, surface forces apparatus (SFA) measurement and Langmuir trough based tensiometry are performed to reveal nanomechanical interaction mechanisms between potential toxicants and biological membranes for ex vivo toxicity evaluation. As a toxicant, polyhexamethylene guanidine (PHMG) was selected because PHMG containing humidifier disinfectant and Vodka caused lots of victims in both S. Korea and Russia, respectively, due to the lack of holistic toxicity evaluation of PHMG. Here, we measured strong attraction (Wad ∼4.2 mJ/m2) between PHMG and head group of biological membranes while no detectable adhesion force between the head group and control molecules was measured. Moreover, significant changes in π-A isotherm of 1, 2-Dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine (DPPC) monolayers were measured upon PHMG adsorption. These results indicate PHMG strongly binds to hydrophilic group of lipid membranes and alters the structural and phase behavior of them. More importantly, complementary utilization of SFA and Langmuir trough techniques are found to be useful to predict the potential toxicity of a chemical by evaluating the molecular interaction with biological membranes, the primary protective barrier for living organisms.

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