Combined strategies for liposome characterization during in vitro digestion

Laura G. Hermida, Manuel Sabés-Xamaní, Ramon Barnadas-Rodríguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

22 Citations (Scopus)


Three types of pyranine (HPTS)-containing liposomes were prepared by high-pressure homogenization under optimized conditions. At 37°C, they were 1) fluid-state vesicles made from soybean phosphatidylcholine (SPC), 2) gel-state liposomes made from hydrogenated SPC (HSPC), and 3) solid-disordered membranes obtained from HSPC and cholesterol (HSPC-Chol). These liposome formulations were characterized before, during, and after in vitro digestion, which involved the presence of pH gradients, enzymes, and bile salts. Mean sizes and size distributions of the vesicles were determined by DLS; 31P-NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) was used to quantify lyso-PC forms; internal pH was monitored throughout digestion with two different fluorescent pH probes; and changes in bilayer permeability and HPTS encapsulation were determined by size-exclusion chromatography and fluorimetry. Differential scanning calorimetry analysis was also performed in order to study the effect of digestion on HSPC vesicles. SPC liposomes were physically stable during digestion; they presented 8% lyso-forms and an HPTS encapsulation around 85% after in vitro digestion. However, they were extremely permeable to ions, so that the internal pH immediately equilibrated with the bulk pH. HSPC liposomes were the most affected by the digestive process. Even though they were chemically stable, as inferred from the low lyso-PC content, very important changes in their size distribution were observed. A final 50% HPTS leakage was quantified after in vitro digestion. Nevertheless, they were the least permeable to protons under pH gradients. HSPC-Chol vesicles presented intermediate permeability to protons, having their internal pH decreased from approximately 6.8 to 4.6 after 1 hour of incubation at pH 2. This was the most chemically stable formulation and showed the highest encapsulation, even after in vitro digestion. Therefore, HSPC-Chol liposomes would be the most adequate choice for the design of lipid products for oral administration. © 2009 Informa UK Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-219
JournalJournal of Liposome Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2009


  • Chemical stability
  • HPTS
  • In vitro digestion
  • Internal pH
  • Liposomes


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