Dual centrifugation (DC) is a novel in-vial homogenization technique for the preparation of liposomes in small batch sizes under gentle and sterile conditions which allows encapsulation efficiencies (EE) for water soluble compounds of >50%. Since liposome size, size distribution (PDI), and EE depend on the lipid concentration used in the DC process, a screening method to find optimal lipid concentrations for a defined lipid composition was developed. Four lipid mixtures consisting of cholesterol, hydrogenated or non-hydrogenated egg PC, and/or PEG-DSPE were screened and suitable concentration ranges could be identified for optimal DC homogenization. In addition to the very fast and parallel liposome preparation of up to 40 samples, the screening process was further accelerated by the finding that DC generates homogeneously mixed liposomes from a macroscopic lipid mixture without the need to initially prepare a molecularly mixed lipid film from an organic solution of all components. This much simpler procedure even works for cholesterol containing lipid blends, which could be explained by a nano-milling of the cholesterol crystals during DC homogenization. Furthermore, EE determination was performed by time-resolved fluorescence measurements of calcein-loaded liposomes without removing the non-entrapped calcein. The new strategy allows the rapid characterization of a certain lipid composition for the preparation of liposomes within a working day.
Keywords: differential scanning calorimetry; dual centrifugation; encapsulation efficiency; liposomes; time-resolved fluorescence; vesicular phospholipid gel.