The journal of physical chemistry. A

Orientation and dynamics of benzyl alcohol and benzyl alkyl ethers dissolved in nematic lyotropic liquid crystals. 2H NMR and molecular dynamics simulations.

PMID 16834016


Most drugs have to cross cell membranes to reach their final target. A better understanding of the distribution, interactions, and dynamics of biologically active molecules in model bilayers is of fundamental importance in understanding drug functioning and design. 2H NMR quadrupole splittings (delta nu(Q)) and longitudinal relaxation times (T1) from the aromatic ring of benzyl alcohol-d5 (C0), a commonly used anesthetic, and a series of linear alkyl benzyl-d5 ethers with chain lengths from 1 to 12 carbon atoms (C1-C12), were measured. The molecules were dissolved in a nematic discotic lyotropic liquid crystal solution made of tetradecyltrimethylammonium chloride (TTAC)/decanol (DeOH)/NaCl/H2O. Values of delta nu(Q) and T1 from 1,1-dideuteriodecanol (15% enriched) and DHO (H2O with 0.2% D2O) were also measured. Delta nu(Q) of DeOH and DHO remained constant throughout the series. The value of delta nu(Q) of the para position of the ring (delta nu(p)) in C1 is 30% smaller than the delta nu(p) of C0. This is attributed to the existence of an H-bond between the alcohol hydroxyl proton and the solvent, which influences the average orientation of the ring. The relaxation data show that T1o,m is always longer than T1p and both decrease with the increase in alkyl chain length. Molecular dynamics simulations of the experimentally studied systems were performed. The aggregate was represented as a bilayer. The distribution, average orientation, and order parameters of the aromatic ring of the guest molecules in the bilayer were examined. Rotational correlation functions of all the C-D bonds and the OH bond from H2O were evaluated, allowing an estimate of the correlation times and T1. According to these results all spins relax in extreme narrowing conditions, except DeOH. Experimental and calculated T1 values differ at most by a factor of 3. However, the order of magnitude and the observed trends are well reproduced by the calculations. The aromatic ring of C0 possesses a unique average orientation in the bilayer. For the ether series, the orientation is modified and the C2 symmetry axis of the aromatic ring is exchanging between two orientations averaging the quadrupole splittings from the ortho and meta positions. The simulation supports the existence of an H-bond between C0 and the solvent not found in the ethers, which should be responsible for the observed differences.