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Theory of Passive Permeability through Lipid Bilayers

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2008 by John F. Nagle, John C. Mathai, Mark L. Zeidel, Stephanie Tristram-Nagle

Recently measured water permeability through bilayers of different lipids is most strongly correlated with the area per lipid A rather than with other structural quantities such as the thickness. This paper presents a simple three-layer theory that incorporates the area dependence in a physically realistic way and also includes the thickness as a secondary modulating parameter. The theory also includes the well-known strong correlation of permeability upon the partition coefficients of general solutes in hydrocarbon environments (Overton’s rule). Two mathematical treatments of the theory are given; one model uses discrete chemical kinetics and one model uses the Nernst-Planck continuum equation. The theory is fi t to the recent experiments on water permeability in the accompanying paper.