Journal of pharmaceutical sciences

Triggering liposomal drug release with a lysosomotropic agent.

PMID 20821395


Drug release from liposomes in the endosome-lysosomal organelles into cytoplasm is critical to cytotoxicity and anticancer effects. Chloroquine is a lysosomotropic agent that has been reported to enhance in vitro cytotoxicity of basic anticancer drugs. To investigate the mechanism of chloroquine triggering basic anticancer drugs release from liposomes and the potential to treat solid tumors in clinic, daunorubicin was loaded into folate-targeted liposomes by ammonium sulfate remote loading method. In vitro triggered release profiles showed that chloroquine can instantly expel about 11% daunorubicin out of liposomes. In vitro cytotoxicity of folate-targeted liposomal daunorubicin on L1210JF(FR+) was enhanced by chloroquine, which was further confirmed by confocal micrographs. Intraliposomal pH was increased by adding chloroquine into 8-hydroxypyrene-1,3,6-trisulfonic acid trisodium salt (HPTS) liposomes with ammonium sulfate gradient, but was not higher than 5.5. Ion exchange and pH rising are the most plausible mechanisms of chloroquine triggering daunorubicin release from liposomes. In vivo anticancer effects on a murine solid tumor model with L1210JF indicated that chloroquine induced daunorubicin release from liposomes as well. Overall, these results support the potential application of chloroquine to trigger the release of liposomal drugs and ultimately to improve the therapeutic efficacy.