Effect of the physicochemical properties of initially injected liposomes on the clearance of subsequently injected PEGylated liposomes in mice

J Control Release. 2004 Mar 24;95(3):403-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2003.12.011.


Using mice as a model, we recently reported that the long-circulating properties of polyethylene glycol (PEG) (M.W. 2000)-modified liposomes (mPEG(2000)-liposomes) disappeared when they were intravenously injected at certain intervals [referred to as the "accelerated blood clearance (ABC) phenomenon"]. Herein, we report on a study of issue of whether physicochemical properties of a prior dose of liposomes such as degree of PEGylation, PEG chain length, lipid dose, surface charge, size, play a role in inducing this phenomenon. The injection of conventional liposomes (without a PEG-coating) significantly induced the phenomenon. The PEGylation of conventional liposomes attenuated the induction of the phenomenon somewhat with increasing molar content of PEG derivative and PEG chain length. These findings clearly suggest that the PEGylation of liposomes are not the major cause of the ABC phenomenon but, rather, played a role in preventing it. In addition, increasing the lipid dose in a prior dose of mPEG(2000)-liposomes (0-25 micromol/kg) increased the induction of the phenomenon in a sigmoid manner. The surface charge and size of the liposomes were not critical for the induction of the phenomenon, although generally these serve as determinants in the biodistribution of liposomes. The results reported here clearly indicate that the physicochemical properties of a prior dose of liposomes strongly affect the pharmacokinetic behavior of a subsequent injection of mPEG(2000)-liposomes: The extent of PEGylation and the lipid dose had an effect, but the surface charge and size did not. The results reported herein have a considerable impact on the design and engineering of liposomal formulations for use in multiple drug therapy as well as in therapy that involves the use of liposomal drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemistry, Physical / methods
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Japan
  • Liposomes / administration & dosage*
  • Liposomes / blood
  • Liposomes / pharmacokinetics
  • Liver / chemistry
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Male
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate / drug effects*
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Polyethylene Glycols / administration & dosage*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry
  • Polyethylene Glycols / pharmacokinetics
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / administration & dosage
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / blood
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacokinetics
  • Time Factors


  • Liposomes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Polyethylene Glycols