Flow cytometric analysis of supravesicular structures in doxorubicin-containing pegylated liposomes

Gergely Milosevits, Zoltán Rozsnyay, Gergely T. Kozma, János Milosevits, Gyöngyvér Tömöry, Hermina Robotka, László Rosivall, János Szebeni

Research output: Article

10 Citations (Scopus)


In an attempt to develop a quantitative assay for supravesicular structures (SVS) - such as aggregates, fused liposomes or solid lipid particles - in liposome preparations, forward vs. side scattering of liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil/Caelyx) was analyzed by flow cytometry. Based on calibration with fluorescent latex beads, the size resolution was between about 500 and 1000 nm. Caelyx, just as structurally matched empty liposomes (Doxebo) produced dot plots clearly distinguishable from background, suggesting the presence of SVS in the above size region. A comparison of gated areas on the scattergrams obtained for different Caelyx preparations showed differences between current and expired samples, implying that SVS formation may be storage-time-dependent. Incubation of doxorubicin with Doxebo in a free drug and lipid concentration range that corresponds to that in Caelyx also led to varying SVS patterns, raising the possibility that free doxorubicin in Caelyx might contribute to SVS formation. Dynamic light scattering and transmission electron microscopic analysis of liposomes following gaiting and sorting of >500 nm particles from Caelyx confirmed the presence of SVS, providing independent evidence for their stable existence. Based on a rough estimation, the amount of SVS in Caelyx is some 60 billionth part of all liposomes. These observations raise the possibility that the presence of an exceedingly small fraction of >500 nm particles may be an intrinsic property of PEGylated small unilamellar liposomes, and that the described FACS analysis may be developed further as a quality assay for liposomal homogeneity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-487
Number of pages6
JournalChemistry and Physics of Lipids
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - máj. 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Cell Biology

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