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Formulation and pharmacokinetics of thermosensitive stealth® liposomes encapsulating 5-Fluorouracil.

Pharmaceutical research (2014-11-25)
Chantal Al Sabbagh, Nicolas Tsapis, Anthony Novell, Patricia Calleja-Gonzalez, Jean-Michel Escoffre, Ayache Bouakaz, Hélène Chacun, Stéphanie Denis, Juliette Vergnaud, Claire Gueutin, Elias Fattal
ABSTRACT

We optimize the encapsulation and investigate the pharmacokinetics of 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) delivered by thermosensitive stealth(®) liposomes (TSLs) designed to trigger drug release upon hyperthermia using focused ultrasound (FUS). 5-FU was encapsulated into liposomes made of 1,2-Dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine/cholesterol/1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine-N-PEG2000 either as a free molecule or complexed with copper-polyethylenimine. Heat-triggered drug release was evaluated using either a water bath or FUS. Formulation cytotoxicity was assessed on HT-29 cell line by MTS assay. Pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of 5-FU were evaluated in HT-29-tumor bearing mice. 5-FU was easily encapsulated using the lipid hydration method (encapsulation efficacy of 13%) but poorly retained upon dilution. 5-FU complexation with copper-polyethylenimine improved 5-FU retention into liposomes and allowed to obtain an encapsulation efficacy of 37%. At 42°C, heat-triggered 5-FU release from TSLs was 63% using a water bath and 68% using FUS, within 10 min, whereas it remained below 20% for the non-thermosensitive formulation. The MTS assay revealed that formulation toxicity arose from 5-FU and not from the excipients. In addition, 5-FU complex encapsulation into TSLs induces a reduction of the IC50 from 115 down to 49 μM. Pharmacokinetics reveals a longer circulation of encapsulated 5-FU and a more important body exposure, although tumor passive targeting is not significantly higher than free 5-FU. Complexation of 5-FU with copper-polyethylenimine appears an interesting strategy to improve 5-FU retention into TSLs in vitro and in vivo. TSLs allow heat-triggered release of the drug within 10 min at 42°C, a reasonable time for future in vivo experiments.

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