Interplay of protein corona and immune cells controls blood residency of liposomes

Francesca Giulimondi, Luca Digiacomo, Daniela Pozzi, Sara Palchetti, Elisabetta Vulpis, Anna Laura Capriotti, Riccardo Zenezini Chiozzi, Aldo Laganà, Heinz Amenitsch, Laura Masuelli, Morteza Mahmoudi, Isabella Screpanti, Alessandra Zingoni, Giulio Caracciolo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In vivo liposomes, like other types of nanoparticles, acquire a totally new ‘biological identity’ due to the formation of a biomolecular coating known as the protein corona that depends on and modifies the liposomes’ synthetic identity. The liposome–protein corona is a dynamic interface that regulates the interaction of liposomes with the physiological environment. Here we show that the biological identity of liposomes is clearly linked to their sequestration from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of healthy donors that ultimately leads to removal from the bloodstream. Pre-coating liposomes with an artificial corona made of human plasma proteins drastically reduces capture by circulating leukocytes in whole blood and may be an effective strategy to enable prolonged circulation in vivo. We conclude with a critical assessment of the key concepts of liposome technology that need to be reviewed for its definitive clinical translation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3686
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology

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