Liposomes are lipid vesicles largely investigated in the past 30 years as pharmaceutical carriers. In the development of new liposome-based formulations, the study of liposome surface properties remains a crucial step. For this purpose, microscopy techniques can provide useful information, although each such technique suffers from some limitations. Here, we have used cold field emission gun-scanning electron microscopy (cFEG-SEM) to acquire detailed images of liposome surface. In particular, we observed PEGylated and non-PEGylated liposomes in different size ranges. In the case of nanosized liposomes (mean diameter about 200nm), a morphological evaluation of the whole preparation was obtained. On the other hand, in the case of giant liposomes (mean diameter about 2mum), it was possible to observe the different surface ultrastructures of the two formulations. In particular, a regular and only slightly wrinkled surface was observed in the case of non-PEGylated liposomes, while a very irregular surface ultrastructure was visible in the case of PEGylated liposomes. This study shows, for the first time, the potential of cFEG-SEM as a new and powerful tool to obtain information on liposome morphology and, at least in the case of giant liposomes, on ultrastructure of the liposome surface.

Cold field emission gun-scanning electron microscopy: A new tool for morphological and ultrastructural analysis of liposomes.

DE ROSA, GIUSEPPE;UNGARO, FRANCESCA;LA ROTONDA, MARIA IMMACOLATA
2008

Abstract

Liposomes are lipid vesicles largely investigated in the past 30 years as pharmaceutical carriers. In the development of new liposome-based formulations, the study of liposome surface properties remains a crucial step. For this purpose, microscopy techniques can provide useful information, although each such technique suffers from some limitations. Here, we have used cold field emission gun-scanning electron microscopy (cFEG-SEM) to acquire detailed images of liposome surface. In particular, we observed PEGylated and non-PEGylated liposomes in different size ranges. In the case of nanosized liposomes (mean diameter about 200nm), a morphological evaluation of the whole preparation was obtained. On the other hand, in the case of giant liposomes (mean diameter about 2mum), it was possible to observe the different surface ultrastructures of the two formulations. In particular, a regular and only slightly wrinkled surface was observed in the case of non-PEGylated liposomes, while a very irregular surface ultrastructure was visible in the case of PEGylated liposomes. This study shows, for the first time, the potential of cFEG-SEM as a new and powerful tool to obtain information on liposome morphology and, at least in the case of giant liposomes, on ultrastructure of the liposome surface.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/337003
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