• bilayer;
  • kinetics;
  • cancer chemotherapy;
  • permeability;
  • encapsulation;
  • liposomes;
  • mathematical model;
  • membrane transport;
  • passive diffusion/transport


The design of liposomal delivery systems for hydrophobic drug molecules having improved encapsulation efficiency and enhanced drug retention would be highly desirable. Unfortunately, the poor aqueous solubility and high membrane binding affinity of hydrophobic drugs necessitates extensive validation of experimental methods to determine both liposome loading and permeability and thus the development of a quantitative understanding of the factors governing the encapsulation and retention/release of such compounds has been slow. This report describes an efflux transport method using dynamic dialysis to study the liposomal membrane permeability of hydrophobic compounds. A mathematical model has been developed to calculate liposomal membrane permeability coefficients of hydrophobic compounds from dynamic dialysis experiments and partitioning experiments using equilibrium dialysis. Also reported is a simple method to study the release kinetics of liposome encapsulated camptothecin lactone in plasma by comparing the hydrolysis kinetics of liposome entrapped versus free drug. DB-67, a novel hydrophobic camptothecin analogue has been used as a model permeant to validate these methods. Theoretical estimates of DB-67 permeability obtained from the bulk solubility diffusion model and the “barrier-domain” solubility diffusion model are compared to the experimentally observed value. The use of dynamic dialysis in drug release studies of liposome and other nanoparticle formulations is further discussed and experimental artifacts that can arise without adequate validation are illustrated through simulations. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. and the American Pharmacists Association J Pharm Sci 97:400–420, 2008