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Int J Pharm. 2005 Apr 27;294(1-2):247-59.

Investigation of lectin-modified insulin liposomes as carriers for oral administration.

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The Pharmaceutical College, Shandong University, 44 Wen Hua Xi Lu, Ji'nan, Shandong Province, China.


The aim of this study was to design and characterize lectin-modified liposomes containing insulin and to evaluate the potential of these modified colloidal carriers for oral administration of peptide and protein drugs. Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), tomato lectin (TL), or Ulex europaeus agglutinin 1 (UEA1) were conjugated by coupling their amino groups to carbodiimide-activated carboxylic groups of N-glutaryl-phosphatidylethanolamine (N-glut-PE). Insulin liposomes dispersions were prepared by the reverse-phase evaporation technique and modified with the lectin-N-glut-PE conjugates. Lectin-modified liposomes were characterized according to particles size, zeta potential and entrapment efficiency. The hypoglycemic effect indicated by pharmacological bioavailability of insulin liposomes modified with WGA, TL and UEA1 were 21.40, 16.71 and 8.38% in diabetic mice as comparison with abdominal cavity injection of insulin, respectively. After oral administration of the insulin liposomes modified with WGA, TL and UEA1 to rats, the relative pharmacological bioavailabilities were 8.47, 7.29 and 4.85%, the relative bioavailability were 9.12, 7.89 and 5.37% in comparison with subcutaneous injection of insulin, respectively. In the two cases, no remarkable hypoglycemic effects were observed with the conventional insulin liposomes. These results confirmed that lectin-modified liposomes promote the oral absorption of insulin due to the specific-site combination on GI cell membrane.

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