Hydrophobic π-π stacking interactions and hydrogen bonds drive self-aggregation of luteolin in water

Luteolin is a flavonoid obtained from different plant species. It is known for its versatile biological activities. However, the beneficial effects of luteolin have been limited to small concentrations as a result of poor water solubility. This study aimed at investigating the hydrophobic interaction and hydration of luteolin towards the improvement of its solubility when used as a drug. We report the aggregation properties of luteolin in water by varying the number of monomers using atomistic molecular dynamics simulation. Results show that the equilibrium structure of luteolin occurs in an aggregated state with different structural arrangements. As the monomers size increase, the antiparallel flipped conformation dominates over T-shaped antiparallel, T-shaped parallel, and antiparallel conformations. The formation of intramolecular hydrogen bonding of 0.19 nm between the keto-enol groups results in hydrophobic characteristics. A larger cluster exhibits slow hydrogen bond dynamics for luteolin-luteolin than luteolin-water interaction. Water structure at large cluster size exhibited slow dynamics and low self-diffusion of luteolin. The existence of hydrophobic π-π and hydrogen bonds between luteolin molecules drives strong self-aggregation resulting in poor water solubility. Breakage of these established interactions would result in increased solubility of luteolin in water.
Luteolin, Hydrophobic, Hydrogen bonding, π-π Interactions, Solubility
Deogratias, G., Shadrack, D. M., Munissi, J. J., Kinunda, G. A., Jacob, F. R., Mtei, R. P., ... & Nyandoro, S. S. (2022). Hydrophobic π-π stacking interactions and hydrogen bonds drive self-aggregation of luteolin in water. Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling, 116, 108243.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmgm.2022.108243