Hyperthermia-responsive liposomal systems
Sophisticated liposomal systems are emerging at an increasing rate to meet the demands for multifunctional drug carriers in chemotherapies in combined with hyperthermia. For example, liposomal drug carriers for temperature-controlled drug release under hyperthermic conditions have recently been tested in clinical trials. More advanced designs of liposomes are expected to release encapsulated contents and activate hidden surface-functions in response to heat stimulus. Towards this aim, the present thesis is focused on formulating asymmetric lipid systems that can preserve functional moieties, and reactivate the targeted function as well as release the encapsulated compounds upon local heating. The design of the asymmetric liposomal systems utilizes the heat-activated transmembrane lipid diffusion during gel to liquid-crystalline phase transitions of the lipid membranes.
Rational design of advanced liposomal drug-delivery systems will require understanding of the physicochemical properties of lipid membranes under, e.g., hyperthermic conditions. Here, supported lipid membranes on planar solid surfaces were used for model studies of lipid composition yielding a gel to liquid crystalline phase-transition temperature in the range 40 – 45 °C. It was found that the liposome-to-membrane formation process is not only size-dependent but also governed by temperature. Two methods of preparing supported asymmetric lipid membranes were investigated. As a proof-of-concept, the upper leaflets were either replaced or chemically transformed by enzymatic hydrolysis. The processes were monitored using surface sensitive techniques such as quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D) and dual polarization interferometry (DPI). The asymmetric structures were stable at a room temperature, while lipid flip-flop was induced upon increasing of the temperature. Transmembrane lipid exchange in the asymmetric structure under hyperthermic conditions was demonstrated by detecting, through streptavidin binding, biotinylated lipids appearing at the top leaflet which were first located in the lower leaflet.
The protocols developed for the supported lipid systems were adapted for the preparation of asymmetric liposomes. Biotinylated asymmetric liposomes were used as a model system to demonstrate the principle of heat-activated targeting of asymmetric liposomes to streptavidin-coated surfaces. More biologically relevant interaction was utilized to replace the biotin-streptavidin function, where asymmetric cationic liposomes were binding to anionic supported membrane immobilized surfaces upon heating.
The described strategies for assembly of asymmetric supported membranes provide a guide to the development of multifunctional drug carriers. The protocols used in experiments with supported membranes were readily adapted to the preparation of asymmetric liposomes. The ongoing study tests the asymmetric liposomes in vitro, which is designed to demonstrate hyperthermia treatment can enhance accumulation of liposomes in FaDu cells, and at the same time activate release of the encapsulated components. The results of in vitro tests can be used to analyze the feasibility of utilizing the asymmetric liposomes as a platform in vivo to explore further improvement in their functions upon microwave hyperthermia.
supported lipid membranes