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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2002 Feb;49 Suppl 1:21-30.

AmBisome: liposomal formulation, structure, mechanism of action and pre-clinical experience.

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Department of Biological Sciences, California State Polytechnic University, 3801 West Temple Avenue, Pomona, CA 91768, USA.


Amphotericin B is the treatment of choice for life-threatening systemic fungal infections such as candidosis and aspergillosis. To improve this drug's efficacy and reduce its acute and chronic toxicities, several lipid formulations of the drug have been developed, including AmBisome, a liposomal formulation of amphotericin B. The liposome is composed of high transition temperature phospholipids and cholesterol, designed to incorporate amphotericin B securely into the liposomal bilayer. AmBisome can bind to fungal cell walls, where the liposome is disrupted. The amphotericin B, after being released from the liposomes, is thought to transfer through the cell wall and bind to ergosterol in the fungal cell membrane. This mechanism of action of AmBisome results in its potent in vitro fungicidal activity while the integrity of the liposome is maintained in the presence of mammalian cells, for which it has minimal toxicity. In animal models, AmBisome is effective in treating both intracellular (leishmaniasis and histoplasmosis) and extracellular (candidosis and aspergillosis) systemic infections. Because of its low toxicity at the organ level, intravenous AmBisome can be safely delivered at markedly high doses of amphotericin B (1-30 mg/kg) for the treatment of systemic fungal infections. AmBisome has a circulating half-life of 5-24 h in animals, and in animal models appears to localize at sites of infection in the brain (cryptococcosis, aspergillosis, coccidioidomycosis), lungs (blastomycosis, paracoccidioidomycosis, aspergillosis) and kidneys (candidosis), delivering amphotericin B that remains bioavailable in tissues for several weeks following treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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