Adhesion and Structural Changes of PEGylated Lipid Nanocarriers on Silica Surfaces

July 15, 2021

PEGylated lipid nanoparticles have a continuously expanding range of applications, particularly within pharmaceutical areas. Hereby, it is shown with the help of the Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) and other surface sensitive techniques that, at room temperature, PEGylated liposomes and lipodisks adhere strongly to silica surfaces resulting in the displacement of the hydration layer of silica and the formation of immobilized nanoparticle films. Furthermore, it is shown that drastic changes in the structure of the immobilized films occur if the temperature is increased to >35 °C. Thus, intact immobilized PEGylated liposomes rupture and spread, even in the gel phase state; immobilized lipodisks undergo complete separation of their components (bilayer forming lipids and PEGylated lipids) resulting in a monolayer of adsorbed PEGylated lipids; and PEGylated supported lipid bilayers release part of the water trapped between the lipid membrane and the surface. It is hypothesized that these changes occur mainly due to the changes in the configuration of PEG chains and a drastic decrease of the affinity of the polymer for water. The observed phenomena can be applied, e.g., for the production of defect-free supported lipid bilayers in the gel or liquid ordered phase states.


Philipp Grad, Katarina Edwards and Víctor Agmo Hernández

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