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The aqueous solution of dopamine hydrochloride has been investigated using neutron and X-ray total scattering data together with Monte-Carlo based modelling using Empirical Potential Structure Refinement. The conformation of the protonated dopamine molecule is presented and the results compared to the conformations found in crystal structures, dopamine-complexed protein crystal structures and predicted from theoretical calculations and pharmacophoric models. It is found that protonated dopamine adopts a range of conformations in solution, highlighting the low rotational energy barrier between different conformations, with the preferred conformation being trans-perpendicular. The interactions between each of the species present (protonated dopamine molecules, water molecules, and chloride anions) have been determined and are discussed with reference to interactions observed in similar systems both in the liquid and crystalline state, and predicted from theoretical calculations. The expected strong hydrogen bonds between the strong hydrogen bond donors and acceptors are observed, together with evidence of weaker CH hydrogen bonds and π interactions also playing a significant role in determining the arrangement of adjacent molecules.

Original publication




Journal article


J Chem Phys

Publication Date





Dopamine, Hydrogen Bonding, Molecular Conformation, Molecular Dynamics Simulation, Monte Carlo Method, Solutions