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Evaluation of tetraether lipid-based liposomal carriers for encapsulation and retention of nucleoside-based drugs


Although liposomal nanoparticles are one of the most versatile class of drug delivery systems, stable liposomal formulation of small neutral drug molecules still constitutes a challenge due to the low drug retention of current lipid membrane technologies. In this study, we evaluate the encapsulation and retention of seven nucleoside analog-based drugs in liposomes made of archaea-inspired tetraether lipids, which are known to enhance packing and membrane robustness compared to conventional bilayer-forming lipids. Liposomes comprised of the pure tetraether lipid generally showed improved retention of drugs (up to 4-fold) compared with liposomes made from a commercially available diacyl lipid. Interestingly, we did not find a significant correlation between the liposomal leakage rates of the molecules with typical parameters used to assess lipophilicity of drugs (such logD or topological polar surface area), suggesting that specific structural elements of the drug molecules can have a dominant effect on leakage from liposomes over general lipophilic character.

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