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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2005 Jan 2;57(1):95-109.

Fluorescence microscopy to follow the targeting of liposomes and micelles to cells and their intracellular fate.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Fluorescence microscopy may provide important information regarding interactions between nanoparticulate drugs carriers, such as liposomes and micelles, with target cells as well as their intracellular fate. Current paper describes various applications of fluorescence microscopy to investigate specific targeting of antibody-modified drug carriers to cancer cells. The enhanced antibody-mediated targeting of drug-loaded immunomicelles confirmed by fluorescence microscopy resulted in enhanced cancer cell killing compared to free drug or drug-loaded nontargeted micelles. Fluorescence microscopy was also used to prove the endosomal escape of properly assembled polymeric micelles (based on polyethylene glycol-phosphatidylethanolamine conjugate, PEG-PE) containing various additives destabilizing the endosomal membrane. When loaded with the anticancer drug (paclitaxel or vitamin K3), such micelles demonstrate increased cytotoxicity. Fluorescence microscopy was also applied to investigate the capture of cell-penetrating TAT peptide-modified liposomes by various cells and stability and intracellular trafficking of captured TAT-liposomes inside cells. It was also used to confirm the successful transfection of cells with TAT-liposomes bearing the plasmid encoding for the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP).

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