The Effect of Polymer Backbone Chemistry on the Induction of the Accelerated Blood Clearance in Polymer Modified Liposomes

Paul H. Kierstead, Hideaki Okochi, Vincent J. Venditto, Tracy C. Chuong, Saul Kivimae, Jean Frechet, Francis C. Szoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


A variety of water-soluble polymers, when attached to a liposome, substantially increase liposome circulation half-life in animals. However, in certain conditions, liposomes modified with the most widely used polymer, polyethylene glycol (PEG), induce an IgM response resulting in an accelerated blood clearance (ABC) of the liposome upon the second injection. Modification of liposomes with other water-soluble polymers: HPMA (poly[N-(2-hydroxypropyl) methacrylamide]), PVP (poly(vinylpyrrolidone)), PMOX (poly(2-methyl-2-oxazoline)), PDMA (poly(N,N-dimethyl acrylamide)), and PAcM (poly(N-acryloyl morpholine)), increase circulation times of liposomes; but a precise comparison of their ability to promote long circulation or induce the ABC effect has not been reported. To obtain a more nuanced understanding of the role of polymer structure/MW to promote long circulation, we synthesized a library of polymer diacyl chain lipids with low polydispersity (1.04-1.09), similar polymer molecular weights (2.1-2.5 kDa) and incorporated them into 100 nm liposomes of a narrow polydispersity (0.25-1.3) composed of polymer-lipid/hydrogenated soy phosphatidylcholine/cholesterol/diD: 5.0/54.5/40/0.5. We confirm that HPMA, PVP, PMOX, PDMA and PAcM modified liposome have increased circulation times in rodents and that PVP, PDMA, PAcM do not induce the ABC effect. We demonstrate for the first time, that HPMA does not cause an ABC effect whereas PMOX induces a pronounced ABC effect in rats. We find that a single dose of liposomes coated with PEG and PMOX generate an IgM response in rats towards the respective polymer. Finally, in this homologous polymer series, we observe a positive correlation (R = 0.84 in rats, R = 0.92 in mice) between the circulation time of polymer-modified liposomes and polymer viscosity; PEG and PMOX, the polymers that can initiate an ABC response were the two most viscous polymers. Our findings suggest that that polymers that do not cause an ABC effect such as, HPMA or PVP, deserve further consideration as polymer coatings to improve the circulation of liposomes and other nanoparticles.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - Jun 18 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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