To prepare controlled release liposomes, freeze-drying of double emulsions (FDE) was employed to entrap a model drug, topotecan, which has been reported to tend to leak rapidly from vesicles. In addition, hydrogenated soy phosphatidylcholine (HSPC), N-(carbonyl-methoxypolyethyleneglycol2000)-1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (PEG-PE), and cholesterol (3:1:1, mass ratio) were used as the vesicle lipid. Different inner aqueous phases (W1) containing topotecan together with a variety of chemicals, such as citrate, sulfate, and divalent copper ions, were used to prepare W1/O/W2 double emulsions, which were then freeze-dried to obtain dry products. Upon rehydration, the dry products formed topotecan-entrapping unilamelar liposomes with an encapsulation efficiency of 80% and a mean diameter of less than 200 nm. The in vitro release experiments demonstrated that the drug release of topotecan-entrapping FDE liposomes could be successfully controlled through altering the state of the incorporated drug by means of protonation, precipitation, or forming a transition metal-complex. Specifically, the formulation of 300 mM CuSO4had a drug release half-life of 36 h. This novel method is a promising way to prepare controlled release liposomes that are more suitable for therapeutic application. In addition, the liposome formation mechanism was discussed based on micrographs and the size of the double emulsions and vesicles, as well as the small angle X-ray scattering pattern and transmission electron microscopy images. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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