Journal article

Use of Simple Kinetic and Reaction-Order Measurements for the Evaluation of the Mechanism of Surfactant-Liposome Interactions

Surfactant liposome interactions have been previously studied through different methods and techniques. We present here a classical physical chemistry study on liposome solutions added to destabilizing agents at concentrations well above the solubilization concentration, which enable us to draw useful and interesting conclusions about the mechanism of surfactant-induced liposomal breakdown by simply exploiting the kinetics and the reaction order of the liposomal content release. In such excess of surfactant, the mechanism of surfactant-induced rupture of the liposomes has been demonstrated to be different from that proposed for low surfactant concentrations. Thus, depending on the surfactant concentration, two prevailing processes have been evidenced: (i) a cooperative mechanism that implies the assembly of a critical number of surfactant molecules to trigger the formation of a channel and therefore the release of the liposomal content and (ii) a mechanism driven by direct interaction of the surfactant molecules with the lipids that causes the complete solubilization of the liposomes. The former mechanism occurs at low surfactant concentrations, whereas the latter occurs at higher concentrations and above the CMC of the surfactants. The effect of different guests embedded into the liposomal bilayer on the mechanism of surfactant-induced liposomal breakdown has been compared by using the second-order rate constants measured for the liposome breakdown process.


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