David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Acta Biotheoretica 48 (3-4) (2000)
The role of fixed charges present at the surface of biological membranes is usually described by the Gouy-Chapman-Grahame theory of the electric double-layer where the Grahame equation is applied independently on each side of the membrane and where the capacitive charges (linked to the transmembrane ionic currents) are disregarded. In this article, we generalize the Gouy-Chapman-Grahame theory by taking into account both intrinsic charges (resulting from the dissociation of membrane constituents) and capacitive charges, in the density value of the membrane surface charges. In the first part, we show that capacitive charges couple electrostatic potentials present on both sides of the membrane. The intensity of this coupling depends both on the value of the membrane specific capacitance and the transmembrane electric potential difference. In the second part, we suggest some physiological implications of membrane electric double-layers.
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