Back to Journals » International Journal of Nanomedicine » Volume 11

Docosahexaenoic acid liposomes for targeting chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer: an in vitro assessment

Authors Alaarg A, Jordan NY, Verhoef JJF, Metselaar JM, Storm G, Kok RJ

Received 28 June 2016

Accepted for publication 14 August 2016

Published 5 October 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 5027—5040


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Webster

Amr Alaarg,1,2 Nan Yeun Jordan,1 Johan JF Verhoef,1 Josbert M Metselaar,2,3 Gert Storm,1,2 Robbert J Kok1

1Department of Pharmaceutics, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, 2Department of Biomaterials Science and Technology, Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine (MIRA), University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands; 3Department of Experimental Molecular Imaging, University Clinic and Helmholtz Institute for Biomedical Engineering, RWTH-Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

Abstract: Inflammation, oxidative stress, and uncontrolled cell proliferation are common key features of chronic inflammatory diseases, such as atherosclerosis and cancer. ω3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs; also known as omega3 fatty acids or fish oil) have beneficial effects against inflammation upon dietary consumption. However, these effects cannot be fully exploited unless diets are enriched with high concentrations of fish oil supplements over long periods of time. Here, a nanomedicine-based approach is presented for delivering effective levels of PUFAs to inflammatory cells. Nanoparticles are internalized by immune cells, and hence can adequately deliver bioactive lipids into these target cells. The ω3 FA docosahexaenoic acid was formulated into liposomes (ω-liposomes), and evaluated for anti-inflammatory effects in different types of immune cells. ω-Liposomes strongly inhibited the release of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species from human neutrophils and murine macrophages, and also inhibited the production of the proinflammatory cytokines TNFα and MCP1. Moreover, ω-liposomes inhibited tumor-cell proliferation when evaluated in FaDu head and neck squamous carcinoma and 4T1 breast cancer cells in in vitro cultures. We propose that ω-liposomes are a promising nanonutraceutical formulation for intravenous delivery of fish oil FAs, which may be beneficial in the treatment of inflammatory disorders and cancer.

Keywords: nanomedicine, PUFA, inflammation, cancer, fish oil, delivery

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]