Liposomes for targeting hepatocellular carcinoma: use of conjugated arabinogalactan as targeting lig
Present study investigates the potential of chemically modified (Shah et al., 2013) palmitoylated arabinogalactan (PAG) in guiding liposomal delivery system and targeting asialoglycoprotein receptors (ASGPR) which are expressed in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). PAG was incorporated in liposomes during preparation and doxorubicin hydrochloride was actively loaded in preformed liposomes with and without PAG. The liposomal systems with or without PAG were evaluated for in vitro release, in vitro cytotoxicity, in vitro cell uptake on ASGPR(+) cells, in vivo pharmacokinetic study, in vivo biodistribution study, and in vivo efficacy study in immunocompromised mice. The particle size for all the liposomal systems was below 200 nm with a negative zeta potential. Doxorubicin loaded PAG liposomes released significantly higher amount of doxorubicin at pH 5.5 as compared to pH 7.4, providing advantage for targeted tumor therapy. Doxorubicin in PAG liposomes showed superior cytotoxicity on ASGPR(+) HepG2 cells as compared to ASGPR(-), MCF7, A549, and HT29 cells. Superior uptake of doxorubicin loaded PAG liposomes as compared to doxorubicin loaded conventional liposomes was evident in confocal microscopy studies. Higher AUC in pharmacokinetic study and higher deposition in liver was observed for PAG liposomes compared to conventional liposomes. Significantly higher tumor suppression was noted in immunocompromised mice for mice treated with PAG liposomes as compared to the conventional liposomes. Targeting ability and superior activity of PAG liposomes is established pre-clinically suggesting potential of targeted delivery system for improved treatment of HCC.