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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Dec;1818(12):3010-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2012.07.014. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

Interaction of local anesthetics with lipid bilayers investigated by ¹H MAS NMR spectroscopy.

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Institute of Medical Physics and Biophysics, University of Leipzig, Germany.


The membrane location of the local anesthetics (LA) lidocaine, dibucaine, tetracaine, and procaine hydrochloride as well as their influence on phospholipid bilayers were studied by ³¹P and ¹H magic-angle spinning (MAS) NMR spectroscopy. The ³¹P NMR spectra of the LA/lipid preparations confirmed that the overall bilayer structure of the membrane remained preserved. The relation between the molecular structure of the LAs and their membrane localization and orientation was investigated quantitatively using induced chemical shifts, nuclear Overhauser enhancement spectroscopy, and paramagnetic relaxation rates. All three methods revealed an average location of the aromatic rings of all LAs in the lipid-water interface of the membrane, with small differences between the individual LAs depending on their molecular properties. While lidocaine is placed in the upper chain/glycerol region of the membrane, for dibucaine and procaine the maximum of the distribution are slightly shifted into the glycerol region. Finally for tetracaine the aromatic ring is placed closest to the aqueous phase in the glycerol/headgroup region of the membrane. The hydrophobic side chains of the LA molecules dibucaine and tetracaine were located deeper in the membrane and showed an orientation towards the hydrocarbon core. In contrast the side chains of lidocaine and procaine are oriented towards the aqueous phase.

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