Regular Article - Soft Matter
Lipids with negative spontaneous curvature decrease the solubility of the cancer drug paclitaxel in liposomes
Materials Department, University of California, 93106, Santa Barbara, CA, USA
2 Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, University of California, 93106, Santa Barbara, CA, USA
3 Physics Department, University of California, 93106, Santa Barbara, CA, USA
4 Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Department, University of California, 93106, Santa Barbara, CA, USA
5 Materials Research Laboratory, University of California, 93106, Santa Barbara, CA, USA
Accepted: 27 November 2023
Published online: 15 December 2023
Paclitaxel (PTX) is a hydrophobic small-molecule cancer drug that loads into the membrane (tail) region of lipid carriers such as liposomes and micelles. The development of improved lipid-based carriers of PTX is an important objective to generate chemotherapeutics with fewer side effects. The lipids 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DOPE) and glyceryl monooleate (GMO) show propensity for fusion with other lipid membranes, which has led to their use in lipid vectors of nucleic acids. We hypothesized that DOPE and GMO could enhance PTX delivery to cells through a similar membrane fusion mechanism. As an important measure of drug carrier performance, we evaluated PTX solubility in cationic liposomes containing GMO or DOPE. Solubility was determined by time-dependent kinetic phase diagrams generated from direct observations of PTX crystal formation using differential-interference-contrast optical microscopy. Remarkably, PTX was much less soluble in these liposomes than in control cationic liposomes containing univalent cationic lipid 1,2-dioleoyl-3-trimethylammonium-propane (DOTAP) and 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine (DOPC), which are not fusogenic. In particular, PTX was not substantially soluble in GMO-based cationic liposomes. The fusogenicity of DOPE and GMO is related to the negative spontaneous curvature of membranes containing these lipids, which drives formation of nonlamellar self-assembled phases (inverted hexagonal or gyroid cubic). To determine whether PTX solubility is governed by lipid membrane structure or by local intermolecular interactions, we used synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering. To increase the signal/noise ratio, we used DNA to condense the lipid formulations into lipoplex pellets. The results suggest that local intermolecular interactions are of greater importance and that the negative spontaneous curvature-inducing lipids DOPE and GMO are not suitable components of liposomal carriers for PTX delivery.
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