Synthesis of high functionality and quality mannose-grafted lipids to produce macrophage-targeted liposomes

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The mannose receptor, which is responsible for tumor invasion, proliferation, and metastasis in the tumor microenvironment, is overexpressed in tumor-associated macrophages. Mannose is commonly applied to PEGylated liposomes in macrophage-targeted cancer therapy. To develop a high functionality and quality (HFQ) lipid for macrophage-targeted liposomes, we designed a novel mannosylated lipid with improved mannose receptor binding affinity using serine–glycine repeats (SG)n. We synthesized Man(S)-(SG)5-SSK-K(Pal)2 using only a fluorenylmethyloxycarbonyl (Fmoc) protecting group solid-phase peptide synthesis method, which produced a high-quality lipid at a moderately good yield. We then prepared Man-(SG)5/PEGylated liposomes using a post-insertion technique to insert Man(S)-(SG)5-SSK-K(Pal)2 into the PEGylated liposomes. In vitro cell investigations revealed that the Man-(SG)5/PEGylated liposomes effectively associated with mouse peritoneal macrophages by interacting with the mannose receptors. The results suggest that we produced a novel high-quality, highly functional mannosylated lipid that is suitable for clinical drug delivery applications.Graphical abstract

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