Nanoparticle Permeation Induces Water Penetration, Ion Transport, and Lipid Flip-Flop

B Song and HJ Yuan and SV Pham and CJ Jameson and S Murad, LANGMUIR, 28, 16989-17000 (2012).

DOI: 10.1021/la302879r

Nanoparticles are generally considered excellent candidates for targeted drug delivery. However, ion leakage and cytotoxicity induced by nanoparticle permeation is a potential problem in such drug delivery schemes because of the toxic effect of many ions. In this study, we have carried out a series of coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the water penetration, ion transport, and lipid molecule flip-flop in a protein-free phospholipid bilayer membrane during nanoparticle permeation. The effect of ion concentration gradient, pressure differential across the membrane, nanoparticle size, and permeation velocity have been examined in this work. Some conclusions from our studies include (1) The number of water molecules in the interior of the membrane during the nanoparticle permeation increases with the nanoparticle size and the pressure differential across the membrane but is unaffected by the nanoparticle permeation velocity or the ion concentration gradient. (2) Ion transport is sensitive to the size of nanoparticle as well as the ion concentration gradient between two sides of the membrane; no anion/cation selectivity is observed for small nanoparticle permeation, while anions are preferentially translocated through the membrane when the size of nanoparticle is large enough. (3) Incidences of lipid molecule flip-flop increases with the size of nanoparticle and ion concentration gradient and decreases with the pressure differential and the nanoparticle permeation velocity.

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