High performance liquid chromatography has shown that after intravenous injection cholesterol-poor liposomes (100 nm) are unstable and their phospholipid is redistributed. Under identical conditions cholesterol-rich liposomes remain structurally intact within the circulation. When injected intravenously cholesterol-rich liposomes accumulate within the inflamed paws of rats with adjuvant induced arthritis to the same extent as cholesterol-poor liposomes. Uptake in inflamed tissue of three cholesterol-rich liposome preparations was always significantly greater than the uptake noted in normal tissue. The degree of accumulation in inflamed tissue was found to depend on the size of the liposome, with the greatest uptake, 7% of the injected dose, achieved by the smallest vesicle (100 nm). These results indicate that intact liposomes accumulate at inflamed joint tissue sites. Therefore the passive targeting of anti-inflammatory drugs encapsulated within these liposomes could be contemplated.
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