Nanotech 2010

Structural Elucidation of Doxorubicin-Loaded Liposomes by Atomic Force Microscopy in air and water

B.W. Tian, W.T. Al-Jamal, M. Stuartb, K. Kostarelos
The School of Pharmacy, University of London, UK

Keywords: structural elucidation, liposome, doxorubicin crystals, AFM


Doxil is a clinically used, FDA-approved liposomal product against cancer. Structural elucidation of liposomal doxorubicin by cryogenic-transmission electron microscopy (cryo-EM) showed that doxorubicin (Dox)form crystal-like structures inside liposomes. Since 1992, cryo-EM has been the only technique used to visualize the doxorubicin crystals in liposomes. In this study, we are reporting the structural elucidation of liposomes encapsulating Dox by AFM. Dox crystals formed inside liposomes following encapsulation were visualized by AFM in water and air for the first time. These optimized conditions in our study allow the structural elucidation of individualized liposome vesicles and indicate that AFM can be applied as a routine technique for the structural characterisation of soft nanoparticles such as hydrated lipid bilayer vesicles.
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