Degree of Unsaturation and Backbone Orientation of Amphiphilic Macromolecules Influence Local Lipid Properties in Large Unilamellar Vesicles

A Moretti and B Zhang and B Lee and M Dutt and KE Uhrich, LANGMUIR, 33, 14663-14673 (2017).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b03043

Liposomes have become increasingly common in the delivery of bioactive agents due to their ability to encapsulate hydrophobic and hydrophilic drugs with excellent biocompatibility. While commercial liposome formulations improve bioavailability of otherwise quickly eliminated or insoluble drugs, tailoring formulation properties for specific uses has become a focus of liposome research. Here, we report the design, synthesis, and characterization of two series of amphiphilic macromolecules (AMs), consisting of acylated polyol backbones conjugated to poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) that can serve as the sole additives to stabilize and control hydrophilic molecule release rates from distearoylphosphatidylcholine (DSPC)-based liposomes. As compared to DSPC alone, all AMs enable liposome formation and stabilize their colloidal properties at low incorporation ratios, and the AM's degree of unsaturation and hydrophobe conformation have profound impacts on stability duration. The AM's chemical structures, particularly hydrophobe unsaturation, also impact the rate of hydrophilic drug release. Course-grained molecular dynamics simulations were utilized to better understand the influence of AM structure on lipid properties and potential liposomal stabilization. Results indicate that both hydrophobic domain structure and PEG density can be utilized to fine- tune liposome properties for the desired application. Collectively, AMs demonstrate the potential to simultaneously stabilize and control the release profile of hydrophilic cargo.

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