Remote-loading labeling of liposomes with 99mTc-BMEDA and its stability evaluation: Effects of lipid formulation and pH/chemical gradient

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Efficient, convenient, and stable radiolabeling plays a critical role for the monitoring of liposome behavior via either blood sampling, organ distribution, or noninvasive nuclear imaging. The direct labeling of liposome-carrying drugs without any prior modification undoubtedly is convenient and optimal for liposomal drug testing. In this article, we investigated the effect of various lipid formulations and pH/chemical gradients on the radiolabeling efficiency and entrapment stability of technetium-99m ( 99mTc) remotely loaded into liposomes, using 99mTc-N,N- bis(2-mercaptoethyl)-N',N'-diethyl-ethylenediamine (99mTc-BMEDA) complex. The tested liposomes either contained unsaturated lipid or possessed various surface charges. 99mTc could be efficiently loaded into various premanufactured liposomes containing either an ammonium sulfate pH, citrate pH, or glutathione (GSH) chemical gradient. 99mTc-entrapment stabilities of these liposomes in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS; pH 7.4) buffer at 25°C were mainly dependent on the pH/chemical gradient, but not lipid formulation. Stability sequence was ammonium sulfate pH-gradient>citrate pH-gradient>GSH-gradient. Stabilities of 99mTc-liposomes in 50% fetal bovine serum (FBS)/PBS (pH 7.4) buffer at 37°C are dependent on both lipid formulation and pH/chemical gradient. Specifically, 99mTc labeling of the ammonium sulfate pH-gradient liposomes were less stable in 50% FBS/PBS than in PBS, whereas noncationic liposomes with citrate pH- or GSH-gradient displayed higher stability, except that anionic citrate pH-gradient liposomes showed no stability difference in these two media. Cationic liposomes aggregated in 50% FBS/PBS, forming a new discrete fraction with larger particle sizes. These in vitro characterization results have indicated the optimism of using 99mTc-BMEDA for labeling pH/GSH gradient liposomes without the requirement of modifying lipid formulation for liposomal therapeutic-agent development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-27
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Liposome Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Radiolabeling
  • distribution
  • encapsulation
  • imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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