The Journal of Membrane Biology

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 123–131 | Cite as

Interaction of alkyl ammonium derivatives with red cells: Hemolysis and sodium pump inhibition studies

  • R. A. Klein
  • J. C. Ellory


Members of four homologous series of tetra-alkyl ammonium bromides (R3N+(CH2)n−1·CH3Br whereR=H, CH3 or C2H5 andR′N+H3Br whereR′ represents the isomeric butyl series) have been synthesized and tested as sodium pump inhibitors, measured as ouabain-sensitive K+ influx, and as hemolytic agents on human red cells.

Potency for both effects is presented graphically, plotting the logarithm of the concentration for half maximal effect against alkyl chain length. Both hemolysis and pump inhibition studies yielded a biphasic response consisting of two good straight lines, with effectiveness increasing up to C10–12 and then remaining constant up to C20.

For hemolysis the alkyl ammonium series was most effective. The calculated free-energy change per methylene group was the same for three series of compounds, but the free-energy contribution from the headgroup was lower for the ammonium series.

In contrast, although pump inhibition studies also yielded simple biphasic plots, inhibition occurred at 3- to 50-fold lower concentrations and there were significant differences between the three series, both in the free-energy changes per methylene group and in the headgroup contributions.

We have analyzed these results thermodynamically to take account of hydrophobic interactions and the conformation of the alkyl chains.


Alkyl Chain Homologous Series Ammonium Bromide Alkyl Chain Length CH3Br 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Klein
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. C. Ellory
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Medical Research CouncilMolteno InstituteCambridgeEngland
  2. 2.The Physiological LaboratoryUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeEngland

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