The architecture and biological performance of drug-loaded LbL nanoparticles

Biomaterials. 2013 Jul;34(21):5328-35. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.03.059. Epub 2013 Apr 22.


Layer-by-Layer (LbL) nanoparticles are an emerging class of therapeutic carriers that afford precise control over key design parameters that facilitate improved drug and carrier pharmacokinetics, and enhanced molecular-targeting capabilities. This paper advances the development of these systems by establishing them as drug carriers, with the means to control drug release in a systemic environment and retard particle clearance from circulation, promoting improved biodistribution of the drug-containing system. Using dual-fluorescent tracking in vivo, this work establishes a robust means of screening libraries of LbL systems generated, affording simultaneous resolution over persistence and biodistribution of both the drug and carrier following systemic administration of a single particle formulation. Employing a PLGA drug-containing core as a substrate for LbL deposition, a range of coated systems were fabricated to investigate the abilities of these films to stabilize drug for delivery as well as to improve the pharmacokinetics of both the drug and carrier. Significant reductions in liver accumulation were observed for different formulations of the layered architectures within the first 30 min of systemic circulation. LbL architectures diminished liver localization of the surrogate drug, cardiogreen, by 10-25% ID/g relative to native PLGA nanoparticles and modulated carrier accumulation in the liver >50% ID/g. Further, enhanced persistence of the drug was observed with the coated systems, significantly increasing the drug half-life from 2 to 3 min for free drug and 1.87 h for the uncoated core to 4.17 h and 4.54 h for the coated systems. These systems provide an exciting, modular platform that improves the pharmacokinetic properties of the therapeutic, reduces bolus release of drug from nanoparticles, and enhances the safety and circulation half-life of the drug in vivo, proving them to be highly clinically-relevant and a promising approach for future development of molecularly-targeted and combination therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacokinetics
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology*
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Female
  • Kinetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*


  • Drug Carriers
  • Doxorubicin