A dialysis-based in vitro drug release assay to study dynamics of the drug-protein transfer of temoporfin liposomes

Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2019 Oct;143:44-50. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpb.2019.08.010. Epub 2019 Aug 14.


Today, a growing number of nanotherapeutics is utilized to deliver poorly soluble compounds using the intravenous route of administration. The drug release and the direct transfer of the active pharmaceutical ingredient to serum proteins plays an important role in bioavailability and accumulation of the drug at the target site. It is closely related to the formation of a protein corona as well as the plasma protein binding of the compound. In the present study, two in vitro drug release methods, the flow-through cell and the dispersion releaser technology, were evaluated with regards to their capability to measure a time-resolved profile of the serum protein binding. In this context, the photosensitizer temoporfin and temoporfin-loaded liposomes were tested. While in the fine capillaries of the flow-through cell a rapid agglomeration of proteins occurred, the dispersion releaser technology in combination with the four-step model enabled the measurement of the transfer of drugs from liposomes to proteins. In presence of 10% of fetal calf serum approximately 20% of the model compound temoporfin were bound to serum proteins within the first 3 h. At higher serum concentration this binding remained stable for approximately 10 h.

Keywords: Dialysis; Dissolution; Drug permeation; In vitro drug release; Liposomes; Nanocarrier; Plasma protein binding; Temoporfin/mTHPC.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cattle
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry
  • Drug Liberation / drug effects
  • Kinetics
  • Liposomes / chemistry*
  • Mesoporphyrins / chemistry*
  • Mesoporphyrins / metabolism*
  • Particle Size
  • Photosensitizing Agents / chemistry
  • Photosensitizing Agents / metabolism
  • Protein Binding / drug effects


  • Blood Proteins
  • Drug Carriers
  • Liposomes
  • Mesoporphyrins
  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • temoporfin