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Transl Stroke Res. 2015 Feb;6(1):78-87. doi: 10.1007/s12975-014-0376-4. Epub 2014 Nov 20.

Plasmin-loaded echogenic liposomes for ultrasound-mediated thrombolysis.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Cincinnati, 231 Albert Sabin Way, Suite 1551, Cincinnati, OH, 45267, USA,


Plasmin, a direct fibrinolytic, shows a significantly superior hemostatic safety profile compared to recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA), the only FDA-approved thrombolytic for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke. The improved safety of plasmin is attributed to the rapid inhibition of free plasmin by endogenous plasmin inhibitors present in very high concentrations (1 μM). However, this rapid inhibition prevents the intravenous (IV) administration of plasmin. In emergency situations, catheter-based local administration is not practical. There is a need for an alternative technique for IV administration of plasmin. A possible solution is the encapsulation of plasmin in echogenic liposomes (ELIP) for protection from inhibitors until ultrasound (US)-triggered release at the clot site. ELIP are bilayer phospholipid vesicles with encapsulated gas microbubbles. US induces oscillation and collapse of the gas bubbles, which facilitates ELIP rupture and delivery of the encapsulated contents. Plasmin-loaded ELIP (PELIP) were manufactured and characterized for size, gas and drug encapsulations, and in vitro thrombolytic efficacy using a human whole blood clot model. Clots were exposed to PELIP with and without exposure to US (center frequency 120 kHz, pulse repetition frequency 1667 Hz, peak-to-peak pressure of 0.35 MPa, 50 % duty cycle). Thrombolytic efficacy was calculated by measuring the change in clot width over a 30-min treatment period using an edge detection MATLAB program. The mean clot lysis obtained with PELIP in the presence of US exposure was 31 % higher than that obtained without US exposure and 15 % higher than that obtained with rtPA treatment (p < 0.05).The enhanced clot lysis is attributed to the US-mediated release of plasmin from the liposomes.

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