Effect of benzocaine and propranolol on phospholipid-based bilayers
Cell membranes play a fundamental role in protecting the cell from its surroundings, in addition to hosting many proteins with fundamental biological tasks. A study of drug/lipid interactions is a necessary and important step in fully clarifying the role and action mechanism of active ingredients, and shedding light on possible complications caused by drug overdosage. In this paper, the influence of benzocaine and propranolol drugs on the structure of L-α-phosphatidylcholine-based membranes has been investigated by means of neutron reflectivity, grazing incidence small angle neutron scattering, and small/ultra-small angle neutron scattering. Investigations allowed discovering a stiffening of the membranes and the formation of stalks, caused by the presence of benzocaine. On the other hand, disordered bilayers (lamellar powders) and highly curved structures were found in the presence of propranolol. The results obtained may be rationalized in terms of the molecular structures of drugs and may serve as a starting point for explaining the toxic behavior in long-term and overdosage scenarios.