, Volume 90, Issue 3, pp 207-217

Permeability of small nonelectrolytes through lipid bilayer membranes

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Diffusion of small nonelectrolytes through planar lipid bilayer membranes (egg phosphatidylcholine-decane) was examined by correlating the permeability coefficients of 22 solutes with their partition coefficients between water and four organic solvents. High correlations were observed with hexadecane and olive oil (r=0.95 and 0.93), but not octanol and ether (r=0.75 and 0.74). Permeabilities of the seven smallest molecules (mol wt <50) (water, hydrofluoric acid, hydrochloric acid, ammonia, methylamine, formic acid and formamide) were 2- to 15-fold higher than the values predicted by the permeabilities of the larger molecules (50