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Journal of Drug Delivery
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 160967, 6 pages
Research Article

Effects of Polyethylene Glycol Spacer Length and Ligand Density on Folate Receptor Targeting of Liposomal Doxorubicin In Vitro

Institute of Medicinal Chemistry, Hoshi University, Ebara 2-4-41, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 142-8501, Japan

Received 1 July 2010; Revised 22 November 2010; Accepted 22 November 2010

Academic Editor: Sophia Antimisiaris

Copyright © 2011 Kumi Kawano and Yoshie Maitani. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The folate receptor is an attractive target for selective tumor delivery of liposomal doxorubicin (DXR) because it is abundantly expressed in a large percentage of tumors. This study examined the effect of polyethylene glycol (PEG) spacer length and folate ligand density on the targeting ability of folate-modified liposomes. Liposomes were modified with folate-derivatized PEG-distearoylphosphatidylethanolamine with PEG molecular weights of 2000, 3400, or 5000. The association of DXR-loaded liposomes with KB cells, which overexpress the folate receptor, was evaluated by flow cytometry at various ratios of folate modification. A low ratio of folate modification with a sufficiently long PEG chain showed the highest folate receptor-mediated association with the cells, but did not show the highest in vitro cytotoxicity. DXR release from folate-modified liposomes in endosomes might be different. These findings will be useful for designing folate receptor-targeting carriers.