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Nano-carrier drug transport in blood microcirculation is one of the hotspots of current research in drug development due to many advantages over traditional therapies, such as reduced sideeffects, target delivery, controlled release, improved pharmacokinetics and therapeutic index. Despite the substantial efforts made in the design of nanotherapeutics, the big majority of the used strategies failed to overcome the biological barriers to drug transport encountered in human microvasculature, such as transport by blood flow via the microcirculatory network and margination, the mechanism according to which particles migrate along vessel radius to the wall. In fact, drug transport efficiency in microvasculature is affected by both the particulate nature of blood and drug carrier properties, such as size, shape and surface charge.In this work, the effect of the surface charge of liposomes on their margination in blood flow in microcapillaries was experimentally evaluated. By high-speed video microscopy and image analysis it was found that the two custom-made liposomes (one neuter and the other positively charged) tend to drift laterally, moving towards the wall and accumulating in the cell-free layer. In particular, neuter and cationic liposomes showed a comparable margination propensity, suggesting that the presence of blood cells governs the flow behavior independently on liposome surface charge.
Charge, drug delivery, liposome, margination, microfluidic, red blood cell.