Indexed on: 17 Apr '98Published on: 17 Apr '98Published in: Biophysical Journal
Quantitative deuterium nuclear magnetic resonance is used to study the freezing behavior of the water in phosphatidylcholine lamellar phases, and the effect upon it of dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), sorbitol, sucrose, and trehalose. When sufficient solute is present, an isotropic phase of concentrated aqueous solution may coexist with the lamellar phase at freezing temperatures. We determine the composition of both unfrozen phases as a function of temperature by using the intensity of the calibrated free induction decay signal (FID). The presence of DMSO or sorbitol increases the hydration of the lamellar phase at all freezing temperatures studied, and the size of the increase in hydration is comparable to that expected from their purely osmotic effect. Sucrose and trehalose increase the hydration of the lamellar phase, but, at concentrations of several molal, the increase is less than that which their purely osmotic effect would be expected to produce. A possible explanation is that very high volume fractions of sucrose and trehalose disrupt the water structure and thus reduce the repulsive hydration interaction between membranes. Because of their osmotic effect, all of the solutes studied reduced the intramembrane mechanical stresses produced in lamellar phases by freezing. Sucrose and trehalose at high concentrations produce a greater reduction than do the other solutes.