Send to

Choose Destination
Biochim Biophys Acta. 1991 Nov 18;1070(1):187-92.

Sterically stabilized liposomes: a hypothesis on the molecular origin of the extended circulation times.

Author information

Liposome Technology, Inc., Menlo Park, CA.


Therapeutic applications of intravenously injected liposomes have been limited by their rapid clearance from the bloodstream and their uptake by the macrophage cells of the liver and spleen (RES). Recently, however, liposomes which substantially evade the rapid uptake by the RES have been introduced. Since these liposomes exhibit dramatically different pharmacokinetics and biodistribution, new therapeutic opportunities have appeared. These include enhanced efficacy of antineoplastic agents against tumors, sites of inflammation, and targeting ligand-coupled liposomes to extravascular targets. Despite extensive experimental work, the mechanism underlying the ability of liposomes to avoid the rapid uptake by the RES is still not fully understood. Our approach is an alternative to seeking the answers in complex differential interactions of liposomes with various components of blood. We believe that the effect can be easily explained, at least in qualitative terms, by the fundamental principles of colloid stability. In this communication, we propose that steric stabilization of liposomes is responsible for their prolonged circulation times. We propose that stabilization results from local surface concentration of highly hydrated groups that sterically inhibit both electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions of a variety of blood components at the liposome surface.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center