Send to

Choose Destination
Biochim Biophys Acta. 1998 Jul 17;1372(2):272-82.

Comparison of different hydrophobic anchors conjugated to poly(ethylene glycol): effects on the pharmacokinetics of liposomal vincristine.

Author information

British Columbia Cancer Agency, 600 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V5Z 4E6, Canada.


Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) conjugated lipids have been used to increase the circulation longevity of liposomal carriers encapsulating therapeutic compounds. PEG is typically conjugated to distearoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DSPE) via a carbamate linkage that results in a net negative charge on the phosphate moiety at physiological pH. It was anticipated that the presence of this negative charge could have deleterious effects on liposome pharmacokinetic characteristics. We describe here the synthesis of a new class of neutrally charged PEG-lipid conjugates in which the PEG moiety was linked to ceramide (CER). These PEG-CER conjugates were compared with PEG-DSPE conjugates for their effects on the pharmacokinetics of liposomal vincristine. PEG-CER (78% palmitic acid, C16) and PEG-DSPE achieved comparable increases in the circulation lifetimes of sphingomyelin/cholesterol (SM/chol) liposomes. However, PEG-DSPE significantly increased the in vitro and in vivo leakage rates of vincristine from SM/chol-based liposomes compared to vincristine leakage observed when PEG-CER was used. The increase in drug leakage observed in vitro that was due to the presence of PEG-DSPE was likely due to the presence of a negative surface charge. Analysis of the electrophoretic mobilities of these formulations suggested that the negative surface charges were shielded by approx. 80% by the PEG layer extending from the membrane surface. In contrast, formulations containing PEG-CER had no surface charge and no electrophoretic mobility. A comparison of the effects of the ceramide acyl chain length (C8 through C24) on the pharmacokinetics of SM/chol/PEG-CER formulations of vincristine demonstrated that longer acyl chains on the PEG-CER were associated with longer circulation lifetimes of the liposomal carriers and, consequently, higher plasma vincristine concentrations. These data suggest that the short chain PEG-ceramides underwent rapid partitioning from the vesicles after i.v. administration, whereas the longer chain PEG-ceramides had stronger anchoring properties in the liposome bilayers and partitioned slowly from the administered vesicles. These data demonstrate the utility of ceramide-based steric stabilizing lipids as well as the potential for developing controlled release formulations by manipulating the retention of the PEG-ceramide conjugate in liposome bilayers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center