Nebulized interleukin 2 liposomes: Aerosol characteristics and biodistribution

Chand Khanna, J. Clifford Waldrep, Peter M. Anderson, Ralph W. Weischelbaum, Diane E. Hasz, Emmanuel Katsanis, Jeffrey S. Klausner

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42 Scopus citations


Although interleukin 2 (IL-2) has been associated with modest anti-tumour responses in man, treatment-related toxicity has limited its widespread use. The local delivery of liposomal formulations of interleukin 2 to the lung as aerosols has been demonstrated to be non-toxic, biologically active, and associated with regression of spontaneous pulmonary metastases in dogs. This study was undertaken to evaluate the physical and biological characteristics of nebulized interleukin 2 liposomes. The aerosol droplet size distribution and the physical stability of interleukin 2 liposomes were examined in-vitro using an Andersen cascade impactor and studies of liposome entrapment of interleukin 2 before and after nebulization. The biological stability of interleukin 2 liposomes after nebulization was demonstrated using the CTLL-2 bioassay for interleukin 2. In-vivo studies of pulmonary biodistribution and clearance of inhaled technetium (99mTc)-labelled interleukin 2 liposomes were undertaken in a normal dog. Aerosols of free interleukin 2 and of interleukin 2 liposomes were compared in both in-vitro and in-vivo experiments. The mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) and geometric standard deviation (GSD) of interleukin 2 liposomes were 1.98 μm and 2.02, respectively. Independent analysis of aerosol particle-size distribution using the constitutive components of the interleukin 2 liposomes (interleukin 2:lipid:HSA) demonstrated a close correlation of size distributions (r = 0.9445; P < 0.001). The entrapment of interleukin 2 in liposomes was 93 ± 4.3% before nebulization and 90 ± 8.9% after. After delivery to an anaesthetized dog, interleukin 2 liposome aerosols were deposited evenly throughout the lung (mean ± s.d. central lung-to-peripheral lung deposition was 1.12 ± 0.03). After approximately 24 h inhalation, interleukin 2 liposomes were retained within the lung and were taken up in part by the spleen. The results of this study are indicative of the stability of this interleukin 2 liposome formulation to nebulization. Such nebulization might be an attractive immunotherapeutic strategy for treatment of pulmonary metastases and primary lung cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)960-971
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1997


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