Effect of cholesterol on the uptake and intracellular degradation of liposomes by liver and spleen: A combined biochemical and γ-ray perturbed angular correlation study

F.H Roerdink*, J Regts, T Handel, S.M Sullivan, J.D Baldeschwieler, G.L Scherphof

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    We investigated the effect of cholesterol on the uptake and intracellular degradation of liposomes by rat liver and spleen macrophages. Multilamellar vesicles (MLV) consisting of distearoylphosphatidylcholine/phosphatidylserine (molar ratio 9:1) or distearoylphosphatidylcholine/cholesterol/phosphatidylserine (molar ratio 4:5:1) were labeled with [3H]cholesteryl hexadecyl ether and/or cholesteryl [14C]oleate. After i.v. injection the cholesterol-containing liposomes were eliminated less rapidly from the bloodstream and taken up to a lesser extent by the liver (macrophages) than the cholesterol-free liposomes. Assessment of the 3H/14C ratios in liver and spleen cells revealed that the cholesterol-containing liposomes are substantially more resistant towards intracellular degradation than the cholesterol-free liposomes. These results could be confirmed by measuring the release of 111In from liposomes after uptake by liver and spleen by means of γ-ray perturbed angular correlation spectroscopy. Experiments with cultured Kupffer cells in monolayer also revealed that incorporation of cholesterol results in a decrease of the uptake and an increase of the intracellular stability of cholesteryl [14C]oleate-labeled liposomes. Finally, incubation of both types of liposomes with lysosomal fractions prepared from rat liver demonstrated a difference in susceptibility to lysosomal degradation: the cholesterol-free vesicles were much more sensitive to lysosomal esterase than the cholesterol-containing liposomes. These results may be relevant to the application of liposomes as a drug carrier system to liver and spleen (macrophages)
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)234-240
    Number of pages7
    JournalBiochimica et biophysica acta
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 14-Apr-1989

    Cite this