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Transmembrane pH-Gradient Liposomes To Treat Cardiovascular Drug Intoxication

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journal contribution
posted on 28.12.2010, 00:00 authored by Nicolas Bertrand, Céline Bouvet, Pierre Moreau, Jean-Christophe Leroux
Injectable scavenging nanocarriers have been proposed as detoxifying agents when there are no specific antidotes to treat pharmacological overdoses. They act by capturing the drug in situ, thereby restricting distribution in tissues. In the clinic, the only systems used for that purpose are parenteral lipid emulsions, which are relatively inefficient in terms of uptake capacity. In this study, we investigated long-circulating liposomes with a transmembrane pH gradient as treatment for diltiazem intoxication. The unique ion-trapping properties of the vesicles toward ionizable compounds were exploited to sequester the drug in the bloodstream and limit its pharmacological effect. After in vitro optimization of the formulation, the in vivo scavenging properties of the liposomes were demonstrated by examining the drug’s pharmacokinetics. The reduced volume of distribution and increased area under the plasma concentration versus time curve in animals treated with liposomes indicated limited tissue distribution. The vesicles exerted a similar but more pronounced effect on deacetyl-diltiazem, the principal active metabolite of the drug. This in vivo uptake of both drug and metabolite altered the overall pharmacological outcome. In rats receiving an intravenous bolus of diltiazem, the liposomes tempered the hypotensive decline and maintained higher average blood pressure for 1 h. The detoxifying action of liposomes was even stronger when the rats received higher doses of the drug via perfusion. In conclusion, the present work provided clear evidence that liposomes with a transmembrane pH gradient are able to change the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of diltiazem and its metabolite and confirmed their potential as efficient detoxifying nanocarriers.