Charged anaesthetics alter LM-fibroblast plasma-membrane enzymes by selective fluidization of inner or outer membrane leaflets. Academic Article uri icon


  • The functional consequences of the differences in lipid composition and structure between the two leaflets of the plasma membrane were investigated. Fluorescence of 1,6-diphenylhexa-1,3,5-triene(DPH), quenching, and differential polarized phase fluorimetry demonstrated selective fluidization by local anaesthetics of individual leaflets in isolated LM-cell plasma membranes. As measured by decreased limiting anisotropy of DPH fluorescence, cationic (prilocaine) and anionic (phenobarbital and pentobarbital) amphipaths preferentially fluidized the cytofacial and exofacial leaflets respectively. Unlike prilocaine, procaine, also a cation, fluidized both leaflets of these membranes equally. Pentobarbital stimulated 5'-nucleotidase between 0.1 and 5 mM and inhibited at higher concentrations, whereas phenobarbital only inhibited, at higher concentrations. Cationic drugs were ineffective. Two maxima of (Na+ + K+)-ATPase activation were obtained with both anionic drugs. Only one activation maximum was obtained with both cationic drugs. The maximum in activity below 1 mM for all four drugs clustered about a single limiting anisotropy value in the cytofacial leaflet, whereas there was no correlation between activity and limiting anisotropy in the exofacial leaflets. Therefore, although phenobarbital and pentobarbital below 1 mM fluidized the exofacial leaflet more than the cytofacial leaflet, the smaller fluidization in the cytofacial leaflet was functionally significant for (Na+ + K+)-ATPase. Mg2+-ATPase was stimulated at 1 mM-phenobarbital, unaffected by pentobarbital and slightly stimulated by both cationic drugs at concentrations fluidizing both leaflets. Thus the activity of (Na+ + K+)-ATPase was highly sensitive to selective fluidization of the leaflet containing its active site, whereas the other enzymes examined were little affected by fluidization of either leaflet.

published proceedings

  • Biochem J

author list (cited authors)

  • Sweet, W. D., & Schroeder, F.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • Sweet, WD||Schroeder, F

publication date

  • October 1986