Interactions of anesthetics with the hexane--water interface. {A} molecular dynamics study

  • Chipot C
  • Wilson M
  • Pohorille A
  • 22


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The free energy profiles characterizing the transfer of nine solutes across the liquid-vapor interfaces of water and hexane and across the water-hexane interface were calculated from molecular dynamics simulations. Among the solutes were n-butane and three of its halogenated derivatives, as well as three halogenated cyclobutanes. The two remaining molecules, dichlorodifluoromethane and 1,2-dichloroperfluoroethane, belong to series of halo-substituted methanes and ethanes, described in previous studies (J. Chem. Phys. 1996, 104, 3760; Chem. Phys. 1996, 204, 337). Each series of molecules contains structurally similar compounds that differ greatly in anesthetic potency. The accuracy of the simulations was tested by comparing the calculated and the experimental free energies of solvation of all nine compounds in water and in hexane. In addition, the calculated and the measured surface excess concentrations of n-butane at the water liquid-vapor interface were compared. In all cases, good agreement with experimental results was found. At the water-hexane interface, the free energy profiles for polar molecules exhibited significant interfacial minima, whereas the profiles for nonpolar molecules did not. The existence of these minima was interpreted in terms of a balance between the free energy contribution arising from solute-solvent interactions and the work to form a cavity that accommodates the solute. These two contributions change monotonically, but oppositely, across the interface. The interfacial solubilities of the solutes, obtained from the free energy profiles, correlate very well with their anesthetic potencies. This is the case even when the Meyer-Overton hypothesis, which predicts a correlation between anesthetic potency and solubility in oil, fails. Introduction

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  • C Chipot

  • M.~a. Wilson

  • A Pohorille

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