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Biomaterials. 2019 Nov;221:119412. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2019.119412. Epub 2019 Aug 6.

A multifunctional lipid that forms contrast-agent liposomes with dual-control release capabilities for precise MRI-guided drug delivery.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Fine Chemicals, School of Chemical Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, 116024, PR China; Materials, Physics, and Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology Departments, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, 93106, USA.
2
Materials, Physics, and Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology Departments, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, 93106, USA.
3
State Key Laboratory of Fine Chemicals, School of Chemical Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, 116024, PR China.
4
Materials Research Laboratory, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, 93106, USA.
5
Materials, Physics, and Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology Departments, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, 93106, USA. Electronic address: Safinya@mrl.ucsb.edu.
6
State Key Laboratory of Fine Chemicals, School of Chemical Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, 116024, PR China. Electronic address: qiaoweihong@dlut.edu.cn.

Abstract

Monitoring of nanoparticle-based therapy in vivo and controlled drug release are urgently needed for the precise treatment of disease. We have synthesized a multifunctional Gd-DTPA-ONB (GDO) lipid by introducing the Gd-DTPA contrast agent moiety into an o-nitro-benzyl ester lipid. By design, liposomes formed from the GDO lipid combine MRI tracking ability and dual-trigger release capabilities with maximum sensitivity (because all lipids bear the cleavable moiety) without reducing the drug encapsulation rate. We first confirmed that both photo-treatment and pH-triggered hydrolysis are able to cleave the GDO lipid and lyse GDO liposomes. We then investigated the efficiency of drug release via the combined release processes for GDO liposomes loaded with doxorubicin (DOX). Relative to neutral pH, the release efficiency in acidic environment increased by 10.4% (at pH = 6.5) and 13.3% (at pH = 4.2). This pH-dependent release response is conducive to distinguishing pathological tissue such as tumors and endolysosomal compartments. The photo-induced release efficiency increases with illumination time as well as with distance of the pH from neutral. Photolysis increased the release efficiency by 13.8% at pH = 4.2, which is remarkable considering the already increased amount of drug release in the acidic environment. In addition, the relaxation time of GDO liposomes was 4.1 times that of clinical Gd-DTPA, with brighter T1-weighted imaging in vitro and in vivo. Real-time MRI imaging and in vivo fluorescence experiments demonstrated tumor targeting and MRI guided release. Furthermore, significant tumor growth inhibition in a treatment experiment using DOX-loaded GDO liposomes clearly demonstrated the benefit of photo-treatment for efficacy: the tumor size in the photo-treatment group was 3.7 times smaller than in the control group. The present study thus highlights the benefit of the design idea of combining efficient imaging/guiding, targeting, and triggerable release functions in one lipid molecule for drug delivery applications.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer therapy; Contrast-agent liposomes; Dual-control release; MRI-Guided drug delivery; Nanoparticles

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