Impact of the biomolecular corona on the structure of PEGylated liposomes

Luca Digiacomo, Daniela Pozzi, Heinz Amenitsch, Giulio Caracciolo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Driven by the promises of gene therapy, PEGylated cationic liposomes (CLs) have been investigated for decades, but their use in the clinical setting is far from established. Such a dichotomy is due to several factors that have been ignored over the last two decades. The hardest challenge seems to occur when PEGylated CLs come into contact with a physiological environment (e.g. the blood). Recent evidence has demonstrated that PEGylation does not completely prevent protein binding (as believed so far), but a biomolecular shell, termed "biomolecular corona" (BC), covers the liposome surface. Here we show that the formation of a BC not only affects the surface properties of PEGylated CLs, but also, and significantly, their bilayer structure thus impairing their ability to safely deliver their cargo to the target site. Therefore, a mechanistic understanding of the structures emerging from liposome-protein interactions may represent a truly new paradigm for the clinical translation of PEGylated CLs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1884-1888
Number of pages5
JournalBiomaterials Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology
  • Advanced Materials Science


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