European Biophysics Journal

, Volume 48, Issue 5, pp 447–455 | Cite as

Application of small-angle neutron diffraction to the localization of general anesthetics in model membranes

  • P. HrubovčákEmail author
  • T. Kondela
  • E. Ermakova
  • N. Kučerka
Original Article


We set out to explore the applicability of small-angle neutron diffraction (SAND) to the localization of biomembrane components by studying the general anesthetic n-decane in a model lipid bilayer system composed of dioleoyl-phosphocholine (DOPC). Samples in the form of planar membrane multilayers were hydrated by varied mixtures of deuterated and protonated water, and examined by the means of SAND. Neutron scattering length density (NSLD) profiles of the system were then reconstructed from the experimental data. We exploited the significantly different neutron scattering properties of hydrogen and deuterium atoms via labeling in addition to water contrast variation. Enhancing the signals from particular components of bilayer system led to a set of characteristic membrane profiles and from their comparison we localized n-decane molecules unequivocally in the bilayer’s hydrocarbon chain region.


General anesthetics n-Decane Lipid bilayers Small-angle neutron diffraction Contrast variation 



This work has been supported by the Slovak Scientific Grant Agency Grant VEGA 1/0916/16, and topical themes 04-4-1121-2015/2020 and 04-4-1133-2018/2020 of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna (Russia). We thank the staff of Institute Laue-Langevine, Bruno Demé in particular, for support and help during experimental run at D16 small momentum transfer diffractometer.


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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Frank Laboratory of Neutron PhysicsJoint Institute for Nuclear ResearchDubnaRussia
  2. 2.Department of Condensed Matter PhysicsUniversity of P. J. Šafárik in KošiceKošiceSlovakia
  3. 3.Department of Physical Chemistry of Drugs, Faculty of PharmacyComenius University in BratislavaBratislavaSlovakia

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