A novel lactoferrin-modified stealth liposome for hepatoma-delivery of triiodothyronine
Triiodothyronine (T3), a thyroid hormone synthesized and secreted by the thyroid gland, plays an essential role in morphogenesis and differentiation through interaction with its nuclear receptors (TRs). However, there are increasing evidences for its role in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) suppression. The aim of this work was to develop an effective hepatocellular carcinoma targeting drug delivery system to improve T3 delivery to hepatic cancer cells as well as to reduce toxic side effects. Three different liposomal systems, such as unmodified, Stealth (PEGylated) and Lactoferrin (Lf)-modified-Stealth liposomes were successfully prepared by the film hydration method, and fully characterized. Liposome cell interactions and cellular uptake were evaluated in three different HCC target cells (FaO, HepG2 and SKHep) by confocal microscopy. Finally, in vitro cytotoxicity studies were carried out by using MTT assay to evaluate toxicity of the liposome delivery system and to test the effect of T3 when incorporated into liposomes. Internalization studies, performed using Lf-modified-liposomes labeled with the lipophilic marker Rho-PE and loaded with the hydrophilic probe CF, clearly demonstrated the effective internalization of both hydrophilic and lipophilic markers. Lf-liposomes might markedly enhance the specific cell binding and cellular uptake in hepatoma cells due to the mediating of Lf that could bind with high affinity to multiple receptors on cell surface, such as ASGP-R. Results obtained from this study highlight that the Lf- modified-liposomal delivery system may ensure a specific and sustained T3 delivery, thus, allowing reduced therapeutic doses and deleterious side effects of T3.