Trehalose, a non-reducing glucose disaccharide found at high concentrations in many species of anhydrobiotic organisms, shows significant promise in protecting cellular viability and structural integrity during freezing and desiccation. As mammalian cell membranes are impermeable to trehalose, extensive efforts have been taken to introduce trehalose into mammalian cells. In this study, we report on the characterization of trehalose-containing liposomes, with focus on the entrapment of trehalose inside liposomes, as the first step in establishing liposomes as a delivery system in the biopreservation field. Liposomes were synthesized by hydrating a phospholipid/cholesterol lipid bilayer with 200-400 mM trehalose buffer and repeatedly extruding the lipid suspension to form unilamellar vesicles. The trehalose content of the liposomal lysate was determined spectrophotometrically using a commercial kit Megazyme™ and confirmed with HPLC measurements. The number of liposomes was calculated from the phosphate content of the liposomal preparation and an estimated number of lipid molecules in a 401 ± 8 nm liposome. Based on an intraliposomal trehalose content, the calculated liposomal encapsulation efficiency of 200 mM trehalose liposomes was of 92 ± 0.7%. This value was in agreement with the 300 and 400 mM trehalose liposomes (91.1 ± 8.2% and 102.1 ± 9.4%, respectively). The Megazyme™ method for trehalose measurement is an inexpensive and sensitive technique that does not require specialized instrumentation or extensive technical expertise. Therefore, it can be used to enhance current efforts in the development of alternative strategies for the cryo- and lyoprotection of mammalian cells. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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