Membrane Permeability: Monolayer Relationships

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Science  17 May 1963:
Vol. 140, Issue 3568, pp. 824-825
DOI: 10.1126/science.140.3568.824


A model of permeation of living membranes is proposed in which penetration by polar molecules takes place through islands composed of limited numbers of lipoidal molecules in a state comparable to that of certain compressed monolayers. These islands are visualized as scattered within a rigid, relatively impervious matrix. Relationships for penetration of monolayers by gases have been applied to this membrane model. Calculations on this basis demonstrate that the permeabilities relative to water are described at least as well by this model as by that assuming rigid pores of 4.25 Å radius.