The application of monolayer studies in the understanding of liposomal formulations

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The study of surfactant monolayers is certainly not a new technique, but the application of monolayer studies to elucidate controlling factors in liposome design remains an underutilised resource. Using a Langmuir-Blodgett trough, pure and mixed lipid monolayers can be investigated, both for their interactions within the monolayer, and for interfacial interactions with drugs in the aqueous sub-phase. Despite these monolayers effectively being only half a bilayer, with a flat rather than curved structure, information from these studies can be effectively translated into liposomal systems. Here we outline the background, general protocols and application of Langmuir studies with a focus on their application in liposomal systems. A range of case studies are discussed which show how the system can be used to support its application in the development of liposome drug delivery. Examples include investigations into the effect of cholesterol within the liposome bilayer, understanding effective lipid packaging within the bilayer to promote water soluble and poorly soluble drug retention, the effect of alkyl chain length on lipid packaging, and drug-monolayer electrostatic interactions that promote bilayer repackaging.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-244
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Issue number1-2
Early online date18 Jan 2011
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2011


  • pharmaceutical chemistry, drug delivery systems, lipid bilayers, liposomes, unilamellar liposomes

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