Liposomes for Drug Delivery : from Physico-chemical Studies to Applications

Abstract: Physico-chemical characterisation of structure and stability of liposomes intended for drug delivery is the central issue in this thesis. In addition, targeted liposomes to be used in boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) were developed.Lysolipids and fatty acids are products formed upon hydrolysis of PC-lipids. The aggregate structure formed upon mixing lysolipids, fatty acids and EPC were characterised by means of cryo-TEM. A relatively monodisperse population of unilamellar liposomes was detected in mixtures containing equimolar concentration of the three components. The interactions between alternative steric stabilisers (PEO-PPO-PEO copolymers) and conventional PC-and pH-sensitive PE-liposomes were investigated. Whereas the PE-liposomes could be stabilised by the PEO-PPO-PEO copolymers, the PC-liposomes showed an enhanced permeability concomitant with the PEO-PPO-PEO adsorption.Permeability effects induced by different PEG-stabilisers on EPC liposomes were shown to be dependent on the length of the PEG chain but also on the linkage used to connect the PEG polymer with the hydrophobic membrane anchor.An efficient drug delivery requires, in most cases, an accumulation of the drug in the cell cytoplasm. The mechanism behind cytosolic drug delivery from pH-sensitive liposomes was investigated. The results suggest that a destabilisation of the endosome membrane, due to an incorporation of non-lamellar forming lipids, may allow the drug to be released. Furthermore, sterically stabilised liposomes intended for targeted BNCT have been characterised and optimised concerning loading and retention of boronated drugs.