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Hyaluronan polymer length, grafting density, and surface poly(ethylene glycol) coating influence in vivo circulation and tumor targeting of hyaluronan-grafted liposomes.

ACS nano (2014-05-09)
Hussaini Syed Sha Qhattal, Tanvirul Hye, Amer Alali, Xinli Liu
ABSTRACT

Hyaluronan-grafted liposomes (HA-liposomes) preferentially target CD44-overexpressing tumor cells in vitro via receptor-mediated endocytosis. We investigated the pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of HA-liposomes with various sizes of HA (MW 5-8, 50-60, and 175-350 kDa) in mice. Incorporation of negatively charged HA on the liposome surface compromised its blood circulation time, which led to decreased tumor accumulation in CD44+ human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 xenografts compared to PEGylated liposomes (PEG-5000). Clearance of HA-liposomes was HA polymer length-dependent; high MW (175-350 kDa, highest ligand binding affinity) HA-liposomes displayed faster clearance compared to low MW (5-8, 50-60 kDa) HA-liposomes or PEGylated liposomes. Surface HA ligand density can also affect clearance of HA-liposomes. Thus, HA is not an effective stealth coating material. When dual coating of PEG and HA was used, the PEG-HA-liposomes displayed similar blood circulation time and tumor accumulation to that of the PEGylated liposomes; however, the PEG-HA-liposomes displayed better cellular internalization capability in vivo. Tumor histology showed that PEG-HA-liposomes had a more direct association with CD44+ cancer cells, while PEGylated liposomes located predominantly in the tumor periphery, with less association with CD44+ cells. Flow cytometry analysis of ex vivo tumor cells showed that PEG-HA-liposomes had significantly higher tumor cell internalization compared to PEGylated liposomes. This study demonstrates that a long blood circulation time is critical for active tumor targeting. Furthermore, the use of the tumor-targeting ligand HA does not increase total tumor accumulation of actively targeted liposomes in solid tumors; however, it can enhance intracellular delivery.

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