Tat peptide and hexadecylphosphocholine introduction into pegylated liposomal doxorubicin: An in vitro and in vivo study on drug cellular delivery, release, biodistribution and antitumor activity

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Graphical abstractWe have investigated the co-addition of hexadecylphosphocholine (HePC) and a Tat derived peptide (Tat), coupled to Maleimide-PEG2000-DSPE pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) in many respects, including drug and liposome cellular delivery, drug release, biodistribution, in vivo cell delivery and antitumor activity. The liposomes were HePC-free and -containing liposomes, from which liposomes with 25, 50, 100 and 200 numbers of Tat/liposome were prepared. Similarly, DiI-C18 (3)-model liposomes (DiI-L and DiI-HePC-L) were prepared. HePC and Tat increased cellular delivery of Dox and cytotoxicity in B16F0 melanoma and C26 colon carcinoma cells. Tat enhanced liposome-cell interaction and caused Dox burst release. HePC and Tat reduced the serum retention time of liposomal Dox, slightly and dramatically, respectively. In comparison, Tat-liposomes enhanced Dox delivery to liver and spleen cells 3 h post-injection. Likewise, Dox content of these tissues and tumor was lower at 24 h. The naïve liposomes retarded tumor growth more effectively and their related median survival time of the treated C26 bearing BALB/c mice was longer than those of Tat-liposomes (MST > 45 days versus MST < 38 days). Overall liposomes exhibiting sustained drug release and negligible cell interaction were more suitable delivery systems in targeting cancerous tumors and suppressing their growth.

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