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Langmuir. 2014 Apr 8;30(13):3697-704. doi: 10.1021/la500412r. Epub 2014 Mar 25.

Cross-linkable liposomes stabilize a magnetic resonance contrast-enhancing polymeric fastener.

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Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , 600 South Mathews Avenue, Urbana, Illinois, 61801 United States.


Liposomes are commonly used to deliver drugs and contrast agents to their target site in a controlled manner. One of the greatest obstacles in the performance of such delivery vehicles is their stability in the presence of serum. Here, we demonstrate a method to stabilize a class of liposomes that load gadolinium, a magnetic resonance (MR) contrast agent, as a model cargo on their surfaces. We hypothesized that the sequential adsorption of a gadolinium-binding chitosan fastener on the liposome surface followed by covalent cross-linking of the lipid bilayer would provide enhanced stability and improved MR signal in the presence of human serum. To investigate this hypothesis, liposomes composed of diyne-containing lipids were assembled and functionalized via chitosan conjugated with a hydrophobic anchor and diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA). This postadsorption cross-linking strategy served to stabilize the thermodynamically favorable association between liposome and polymeric fastener. Furthermore, the chitosan-coated, cross-linked liposomes proved more effective as delivery vehicles of gadolinium than uncross-linked liposomes due to the reduced liposome degradation and chitosan desorption. Overall, this study demonstrates a useful method to stabilize a broad class of particles used for systemic delivery of various molecular payloads.

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