Liposomes prolong the therapeutic effect of anti-asthmatic medication via pulmonary delivery

Xiaoyu Chen, Wenhua Huang, Blenda Chi Kwan Wong, Linlin Yin, Yuen Fan Wong, Min XU, Zhijun YANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The main objective of this study was to develop a novel aerosolized liposome formulation for pulmonary delivery of anti-asthmatic medication and to explore the relationship between the bioavailability and anti-asthmatic efficacy of such a formulation. Asthma treatment usually requires frequent administration of medication for sustained bronchodilating response. Liposomes are known for their capability for sustained drug release and thus would be a suitable delivery system for anti-asthmatic medication for prolonged therapeutic effect. Salbutamol sulfate (SBS) was chosen as the model drug in this study because of its high water solubility and fast absorption after administration. Methods: SBS was efficiently encapsulated into liposomes by the vesicular phospholipid gel technique. SBS permeability across the pulmonary membrane of an Asian toad was determined by in vitro study. Intratracheal administration of liposomes labeled with the fluorescent dye 1,1′-dioctadecyltetramethyl indotricarbocyanine iodide (DiR) in a rat model was assessed by a small animal imaging system and pharmacokinetic analysis. Pharmacodynamic analysis was performed in guinea pigs using the Konzett-Rössler method. Results: SBS was efficiently encapsulated into liposomes with encapsulation efficiency as high as 70%. The particle size of the SBS liposome suspension was approximately 57 ± 21 nm. In the in vitro study of permeability across the pulmonary membrane of Asian toads, SBS from liposomes demonstrated a slower transport rate compared to free SBS solution. Pulmonary delivery of liposomes in a rat model showed that the liposomes were effectively distributed in the respiratory tract and lungs, and that the release of SBS from liposomes was sustained for at least 48 hours. Pharmacodynamic analysis in a guinea pig model showed that the anti-asthmatic effect of SBS liposomes persisted for up to 18 hours, whereas that of free SBS solution was less than 8 hours. Conclusion: The overall results demonstrated that liposomes could increase the concentration and retention time of SBS in the lungs and therefore prolong its therapeutic effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1139-1148
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Nanomedicine
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • Asthma
  • Intratracheal administration
  • Salbutamol sulfate
  • Sustained release


Dive into the research topics of 'Liposomes prolong the therapeutic effect of anti-asthmatic medication via pulmonary delivery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this