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Lactosylated liposomes for targeted delivery of doxorubicin to hepatocellular carcinoma

Authors Zhou X, Zhang, Yung, Li, Zhou C, Lee J, Lee RJ

Received 17 May 2012

Accepted for publication 25 July 2012

Published 16 October 2012 Volume 2012:7 Pages 5465—5474


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Xiaoju Zhou,1,2,* Mengzi Zhang,2,* Bryant Yung,2 Hong Li,2 Chenguang Zhou,2 L James Lee,3,4 Robert J Lee2,4

1State Key Laboratory of Virology, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Combinatorial Biosynthesis and Drug Discovery, Wuhan University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China; 2Division of Pharmaceutics, 3Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 4NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for Affordable Nanoengineering of Polymeric Biomedical Devices, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: N-lactosyl-dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine (Lac-DOPE) was synthesized and evaluated as a liver-specific targeting ligand via asialoglycoprotein receptors for liposomal delivery of doxorubicin.
Methods: Lactosylated liposomes encapsulating calcein (Lac-L-calcein) or doxorubicin (Lac-L-DOX) composed of egg phosphatidylcholine, cholesterol, monomethoxy polyethylene glycol 2000-distearoyl phosphatidylethanolamine, and Lac-DOPE at 50:35:5:10 (mol/mol) were prepared by polycarbonate membrane extrusion and evaluated in human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells. Cellular uptake of Lac-L-calcein was monitored by confocal microscopy and by flow cytometry. The cytotoxicity of Lac-L-DOX was evaluated by MTT assay. The pharmacokinetic properties of Lac-L-DOX were studied in normal mice, and its biodistribution and antitumor activity were studied in nude mice with HepG2 xenografts.
Results: The size of Lac-L-DOX was less than 100 nm and the liposomes demonstrated excellent colloidal stability. In vitro uptake of Lac-L-calcein by HepG2 cells was four times greater than that of non-targeted L-calcein. In the presence of 20 mM lactose, the uptake of Lac-L-calcein was inhibited, suggesting that asialoglycoprotein receptors mediated the observed cellular uptake. Lac-L-DOX exhibited enhanced in vivo cytotoxicity compared with the nontargeted liposomal doxorubicin (L-DOX), and its pharmacokinetic parameters indicate that Lac-L-DOX has a long blood circulation time (t1/2 8.73 hours). Tissue distribution and therapeutic efficacy studies in nude mice bearing HepG2 xenografts show that Lac-L-DOX had significantly stronger tumor inhibitory activity compared with L-DOX and free doxorubicin, along with a higher accumulation of drug within the tumor site and greater cellular uptake by tumor cells.
Conclusion: These data suggest that lactosylated liposomes are promising drug delivery vehicles for hepatocellular carcinoma.

Keywords: liposomes, hepatocellular carcinoma, asialoglycoprotein receptor, drug targeting

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