The aggregation number (n), thermodynamic potentials (ΔG, ΔH, ΔS) and critical micelle concentration (CMC) for 6 natural bile salts were determined on the basis of both original and previously published isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) data. Different procedures to estimate parameters of micelles with ITC were compared to a mass-action model (MAM) of reaction type: n⋅S⇌Mn. This analysis can provide guidelines for future ITC studies of systems behaving in accordance with this model such as micelles and proteins that undergo self-association to oligomers. Micelles with small aggregation numbers, as those of bile salts, are interesting because such small aggregates cannot be characterized as a separate macroscopic phase and the widely applied pseudo-phase model (PPM) is inaccurate. In the present work it was demonstrated that the aggregation number of micelles was constant at low concentrations enabling determination of the thermodynamic potentials by the MAM. A correlation between the aggregation number and the heat capacity was found, which implies that the dehydrated surface area of bile salts increases with the aggregation number. This is in accordance with Tanford's principles of opposing forces where neighbouring molecules in the aggregate are better able to shield from the surrounding hydrophilic environment when the aggregation number increases.
Olesen, N. E., Westh, P., & Holm, R. (2015). Determination of thermodynamic potentials and the aggregation number for micelles with the mass-action model by isothermal titration calorimetry: A case study on bile salts. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 453, 79-89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2015.03.069