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Open Access Hypothesis

Lysolipid containing liposomes for transendothelial drug delivery

Tilen Koklic12* and Janez trancar12

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Biophysics (, Condensed Matter Physics F5, Joef Stefan Institute, Jamova 39, SI-1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia

2 Center of Excellence Namaste, Advanced Bio Materials, Jamova 39, SI-1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:179  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-179

Published: 10 April 2012



Designing efficient 'vectors', to deliver therapeutics across endothelial barriers, in a controlled manner, remains one of the key goals of drug development. Recently, transcytosis of liposome encapsulated fluorescence marker calcein across a tight cell barrier was studied. The most efficient liposomes were found to be liposomes containing sufficient amount of alkyl phospholipid (APL) perifosine. APLs have similar structure as lysophosphatidyl choline (LPC), since APLs were synthesized as metabolically stable analogues of LPC, which increases endothelial permeability directly by inducing endothelial cell contraction, resulting in formation of gaps between endothelial cells. Since one of the unique properties of lysolipid, containing liposomal formulations is dynamic equilibrium of lysolipids, which are distributed among liposomes, micelles, and free form, such liposomes represent a reservoir of free lysolipids. On the other hand lysolipid containing liposomes also represent a reservoir of an encapsulated hydrophilic drug.

Presentation of the hypothesis

We hypothesize that free lysolipids, with highest concentration in vicinity of drug carrying liposomes, compromise endothelial integrity, primarily where concentrations of liposomes is the highest, in a similar manner as LPC, by formation of gaps between endothelial cells. Liposome encapsulated drug, which leaks from liposomes, due to liposome destabilization, caused by lysolipid depletion, can therefore be efficiently transported across the locally compromised endothelial barrier.

Testing the hypothesis

This hypothesis could be verified: by measuring binding of perifosine and other lysolipids to albumin and to lysophospholipid receptor (LPL-R) group; formation of stress fibers and subsequent cell contraction; activation of RhoA, and endothelial barrier dysfunction; by a synthesis of other LPC analogues with high critical micellar concentration and measuring their effect on transendothelial permeability in presence and absence of albumin.

Implications of the hypothesis

We propose that lysolipid containing liposomal formulations might be used as nonspecific transendothelial transport vector, since leakage of liposome encapsulated active drug occurs simultaneously with the release of the lysolipids. The concentration of the active drug is therefore expected to be the highest at the site of compromised endothelial barrier. By appropriate choice of the lysolipids an endothelial barrier would stay open only for a short time. Use of such liposomes would potentially maximize the delivery of the drug while limiting the passage of toxic substances and pathogens across the endothelial barrier. Combining lysolipid containing liposomes with superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles or a targeting ligand might be required to efficiently localize drug delivery to a disease affected tissue and to avoid endothelial disruption over the entire body.