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Biomaterials. 2008 Aug;29(23):3367-75. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.04.030. Epub 2008 May 16.

Exploiting lipid raft transport with membrane targeted nanoparticles: a strategy for cytosolic drug delivery.

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Department of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine, Campus Box 8215, 660 South Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


The ability to specifically deliver therapeutic agents to selected cell types while minimizing systemic toxicity is a principal goal of nanoparticle-based drug delivery approaches. Numerous cellular portals exist for cargo uptake and transport, but after targeting, intact nanoparticles typically are internalized via endocytosis prior to drug release. However, in this work, we show that certain classes of nanoparticles, namely lipid-coated liquid perfluorocarbon emulsions, undergo unique interactions with cells to deliver lipophilic substances to target cells without the need for entire nanoparticle internalization. To define the delivery mechanisms, fluorescently-labeled nanoparticles complexed with alphav beta 3-integrin targeting ligands were incubated with alphav beta 3-integrin expressing cells (C32 melanoma) under selected inhibitory conditions that revealed specific nanoparticle-to-cell interactions. We observed that the predominant mechanism of lipophilic delivery entailed direct delivery of lipophilic substances to the target cell plasma membrane via lipid mixing and subsequent intracellular trafficking through lipid raft-dependent processes. We suggest that local drug delivery to selected cell types could be facilitated by employing targeted nanoparticles designed specifically to utilize alternative membrane transport mechanisms.

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