Colloids and surfaces. B, Biointerfaces

Stability effect of cholesterol-poly(acrylic acid) in a stimuli-responsive polymer-liposome complex obtained from soybean lecithin for controlled drug delivery.

PMID 28088691


The development of polymer-liposome complexes (PLCs), in particular for biomedical applications, has grown significantly in the last decades. The importance of these studies comes from the emerging need in finding intelligent controlled release systems, more predictable, effective and selective, for applications in several areas, such as treatment and/or diagnosis of cancer, neurological, dermatological, ophthalmic and orthopedic diseases, gene therapy, cosmetic treatments, and food engineering. This work reports the development and characterization of a pH sensitive system for controlled release based on PLCs. The selected hydrophilic polymer was poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) synthesized by atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) with a cholesterol (CHO) end-group to improve the anchoring of the polymer into the lipid bilayer. The polymer was incorporated into liposomes formulated from soybean lecithin and stearylamine, with different stearylamine/phospholipid and polymer/phospholipid ratios (5, 10 and 20%). The developed PLCs were characterized in terms of particle size, polydispersity, zeta potential, release profiles, and encapsulation efficiency. Cell viability studies were performed to assess the cytotoxic potential of PLCs. The results showed that the liposomal formulation with 5% of stearylamine and 10% of polymer positively contribute to the stabilization of the complexes. Afterwards, the carboxylic acid groups of the polymer present at the surface of the liposomes were crosslinked and the same parameters analyzed. The crosslinked complexes showed to be more stable at physiologic conditions. In addition, the release profiles at different pHs (2-12) revealed that the obtained complexes released all their content at acidic conditions. In summary, the main accomplishments of this work are: (i) innovative synthesis of cholesterol-poly(acrylic acid) (CHO-PAA) by ATRP; (ii) stabilization of the liposomal formulation by incorporation of stearylamine and CHO-PAA; (iii) new approach for CHO-PAA crosslinking, resulting in more stable PLCs at physiological conditions; (iv) destabilization of PLCs upon slight changes of pH, showing their pH sensitivity; and (v) the PLCs do not exhibit cellular toxicity.