Influence of cholesterol on liposome stability and on in vitro drug release


Cholesterol plays a strategic role in liposome composition; however, the quantity used to achieve an appropriate formulation has not been yet clarified. Therefore, by screening arrangement of lipids and cholesterol ratio, the main aim of this study is to investigate the most suitable amount of cholesterol in lipids in order to prepare stable and controlled drug release vehicles. For the preparation of liposomes, DMPC, DPPC and DSPC phospholipids were used and combined with different molar ratios of cholesterol (e.g. 100, 80–20, 70–30, 60–40 and 50–50 %). Stability studies were conducted by storing the formulations at 37 and 50 °C for 30 days and by analysing them by AFM, DLS and FT-IR. By detecting the two most stable formulations from the stability results, drug encapsulation and in vitro release studies in PBS were performed by encapsulating atenolol and quinine. The release results were validated using a simulation model to ensure the reliability and suitable interpretation of the data. The generated model showed a good correlation between the prediction and the in vitro obtained results. By using 70:30 % ratio (known in literature as 2:1), it is possible to reach the most stable formulation to guarantee a controlled and reproducible release for drugs with different physicochemical characteristics and pharmaceutical applications.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation (CMAC) for use of their facilities.

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The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

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Correspondence to Dimitrios A. Lamprou.

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Briuglia, M., Rotella, C., McFarlane, A. et al. Influence of cholesterol on liposome stability and on in vitro drug release. Drug Deliv. and Transl. Res. 5, 231–242 (2015).

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  • Cholesterol
  • Liposomes
  • Controlled release
  • AFM
  • Mathematical modelling