Fasudil and SOD packaged in peptide-studded-liposomes: Properties, pharmacokinetics andex-vivotargeting to isolated perfused rat lungs

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The present study investigated the feasibility of encapsulating two drugs, fasudil and superoxide dismutase (SOD), into liposomes for targeted and inhalational delivery to the pulmonary vasculature to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Nanosized liposomes were prepared by a thin-film formation and extrusion method, and the drugs were encapsulated by a modified freeze-thaw technique. The peptide CARSKNKDC (CAR), a pulmonary-specific targeting sequence, was conjugated on the surface of liposomes. Formulations were optimized for various physicochemical properties, tested for their ex-vivo and in-vivo drug absorption after intratracheal administration, and evaluated for short-term safety in healthy rats. The homogenous nanosized liposomes contained both SOD (˜55% entrapment) and fasudil (˜40% entrapment), and were stable at 4 °C and after nebulization. Liposomes released the drugs in a controlled-release fashion. Compared with plain liposomes, CAR-liposomes increased the uptake by pulmonary endothelial and smooth muscle cells by ˜2-fold. CAR-liposomes extended the biological half-lives of SOD and fasudil by ˜3-fold. Ex-vivo studies demonstrated that CAR-liposomes were better retained in the lungs than plain liposomes. Bronchoalveolar lavage studies indicated the safety of peptide-equipped liposomes as pulmonary delivery carriers. Overall, this study demonstrates that CAR-liposomes may be used as inhalational carriers for SOD plus fasudil-based combination therapy for PAH.

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