Asymmetric cationic liposomes designed for heat-activated association with cells
Journal article, 2017
Improved anticancer drugs and drug carriers are needed in combination therapies, such as hyperthermia-assisted chemotherapy. Liposomal drug carriers with advanced functions are attractive candidates for targeted accumulation and drug release in response to heat stimulus. We report on the design of liposomes with a heat-activated surface function. Our design is based on asymmetric lipid membranes with a defined gel to liquid-crystalline phase-transition temperature around 41 °C. Asymmetry between the inner and the outer membrane leaflets was generated through selective PEGylation of cationic lipids in the outer membrane leaflet. In a physiological buffer, the PEGylated asymmetric liposomes had a neutral zeta potential and did not bind to planar anionic model membranes. In contrast, following upon heat-activation, binding of liposomes to the model membranes occurred. Release of a hydrophilic dye encapsulated in the asymmetric liposomes occurred at 40 °C. Enhanced uptake of the asymmetric liposomes by hypopharyngeal carcinoma cells (FaDu cells) was observed when hyperthermia was applied compared to experiments performed at 37 °C. These results show the potential of asymmetric liposomes for localized delivery of drugs into cells in response to (external) temperature stimulus.