Since their introduction as bilayer-forming synthetic compounds in the eighties, dioctadecyldimethylammonium (DODA) and dihexadecylphosphate (DHP) salts have found many uses in strategic, applied areas. In particular, DODA chloride or bromide vesicles interacted with negatively charged prokaryotic or eukaryotic cells, yielding adsorption isotherms of high affinity for the cell surface, causing cell adhesion and flocculation, changing the cell surface charge from negative to positive, and causing loss of cell viability over DODA concentration ranges that depended on the cell type being tested. This work reviews data on DODA effects on cell viability (bacteria, fungus and cultured mammalian cells) to propose DODA salts as effective anti-microbial agents that exhibit differential cytotoxicity in vitro and, therefore, deserve to be investigated as potential drugs. The full utility of these inexpensive synthetic bilayers and bilayer fragments able to act as drugs themselves and, simultaneously, as drug, gene or vaccine carriers remains hitherto unexplored.
Keywords: dioctadecyldimethylammonium chloride or bromide, sodium dihexadecylphosphate, synthetic bilayers, vesicles, bilayer fragments, hydrophobic drugs, drug solubilization, stabilization and activity