ANCA POPESCU, A. IFTIME#, CONSTANŢA GANEA
Department of Biophysics, “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmaceutics, 8, Eroii Sanitari Blvd, 050474, Bucharest, Romania
Abstract. The purpose of this study was to identify whether quercetin (a flavonoid synthesized by plants and found in various foods) plays a protective role for lipid membranes against heavy metals cadmium and zinc (frequently found as highly toxic pollutants in industrial waste) and whether if its protective action is influenced by its concentration. Both investigated heavy metals induced modifications of the bilayer’s electrical parameters, probably caused by their attachment on the surface and their insertion. At small concentrations (10–50 μM), quercetin unequivocally protects the membrane against the heavy metals’ induced stress. At higher quercetin concentrations the interaction becomes more complex perhaps because possible formation of quercetin-cation complexes, which would have a different interaction with the membrane. Other processes involved in the observed variation of the membrane’s electrical parameters are related to water structuring at the membrane-environment interface and the modification of the membrane’s dipole moment as an effect of the insertion of cations and quercetin in the membrane.
Key words: quercetin, cadmium, zinc, capacitance, conductance, BLM.
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