The lack of details in the hydration properties of lipid bilayers hinders the design of biomimetic systems that, as liposomes and vesicles, may be used for biotechnological and medical purposes. In this chapter, studies indicate water as a membrane dynamic component determining the affinity and response of lipid membranes to amino acids, peptides and others stimuli. Based on thermodynamic analysis in lipid monolayers and its comparison with swelling shrinkage processes in liposomes and vesicles, it is concluded that: (1) the interphase of a lipid bilayer in a bidimensional solution of hydrated polar groups imbibed in labile water can be exchanged with the media by osmosis and or expansion-compression. (2) Excess water beyond the hydration shell (confined water) has solvent properties for additives in the bulk water phase and confers free energy that is in excess for binding of amino acids and peptides. (3) Dissolution in the water membrane phase changes the water activity (aw) and affects the surface pressure. (4) Defects may be formed by the compression of bilayers in which carbonyl groups organized water differently. These studies indicate that a deeper understanding of the role of lipid bilayers in cellular biology and support the development of future lipid-based biotechnology that should necessarily include the role of water as a membrane dynamic component.
Part of the book: Liposomes