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J Pharm Sci. 1996 Sep;85(9):908-14.

Physicochemical characterization of a synthetic lipid emulsion for hepatocyte-selective delivery of lipophilic compounds: application to polyiodinated triglycerides as contrast agents for computed tomography.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109, USA.


A synthetic lipid emulsion (LE) has been developed with physicochemical properties that closely resemble those of a specific class of naturally-occurring lipoproteins known as chylomicron remnants. The formulation has the potential to serve as a hepatocyte-selective delivery system for any lipophilic or amphipathic compounds that can be associated with the internal lipid phase of the emulsion. In the present studies, a lipophilic polyiodinated triglyceride (ITG) was successfully incorporated into the delivery vehicle to form a stable chylomicron-remnant-like emulsion capable of localizing material to the liver following intravenous injection. The preferred ITG-LE formulation was shown to have a mean particle diameter of less than 200 nm and a particle size stability profile in excess of 12 months. The viscosity, pH, and osmolality of the formulation also appeared favorable for safe and convenient intravenous injection. The particle size profile, chemical properties, and high degree of incorporation of ITG into the emulsion suggest that the ITG-LE formulation holds substantial promise as a hepatocyte-selective imaging agent for computed tomography of the liver. Biodistribution, elimination, and computed tomography (CT) imaging results in animals corroborated the hepatocyte-selective nature of the ITG-LE formulation.

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