Coating particles with a block co-polymer (poloxamine-908) suppresses opsonization but permits the activity of dysopsonins in the serum

S. M. Moghimi, I. S. Muir, L. Illum, S. S. Davis, V. Kolb-Bachofen

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The surfaces of polystyrene microspheres (60 nm in diameter) and colloidal gold particles (17 nm in diameter) were coated with a polyoxyethylene (POE) polyoxypropylene (POP) block co-polymer; poloxamine-908. The polymer adsorb strongly to the microspheres via its relatively hydrophobic POP segments. This leaves the POE chains in a mobile state as they extend outward from the surface and thereby provide stability to the particle suspension by suppressing aggregation. The blood clearance and biodistribution of uncoated vs. poloxamine-908-coated 125I-labelled polystyrene microspheres were compared 1 h after intravenous administration into rats. Poloxamine coating dramatically reduced liver accumulation of microspheres and kept them within the systemic circulation. These observations were further confirmed by electron microscopy, demonstrating that Kupffer cells were loaded with uncoated latex but had ingested few if any of the poloxamine-908-coated particles. The interaction of uncoated and poloxamine-coated gold particles with freshly isolated rat liver sinusoidal cells was examined by electron microscopy. The accumulation in Kupffer cells of gold particles after opsonization with autologous plasma was in accordance with previous observations where the dominant opsonizing activity had been identified as fibronectin. In contrast, coating of gold particles with poloxamine-908 prior to plasma opsonization prevented the adsorption of fibronectin onto their surface. Simultaneously, Kupffer cells failed to recognize poloxamine-908-coated gold particles before and after opsonization. Unlike Kupffer cells, liver endothelial cells endocytosed poloxamine-908-coated gold particles prior to opsonization but failed to recognize them after the opsonization process. This was taken as an indication of the presence of dysopsonic activity in plasma. This dysopsonic activity was studied using polystyrene latex microspheres, where the uptake of such particles by phagocytes is known to be independent of opsonization. The coating of 125I-labelled polystyrene microspheres with poloxamine-908 dramatically reduced their interaction with liver sinusoidal cells. This interaction was further reduced in the presence of either autologous plasma or serum. A heat-stable (60°C for 15 min) serum component of molecular mass > 100 kDa was found to mediate this suppressive effect. Thus, we demonstrate that organ-specific receptors, opsonin activities and plasma dysopsonins regulate the in vivo clearance of particulate materials from the circulation. Poloxamine-908 coating modulates particle clearance by effectively blocking opsonization but still allowing for dysopsonization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-165
Number of pages9
JournalBBA - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 7 1993


  • (Rat liver)
  • Colloidal gold
  • Dysopsonin
  • Kupffer cell
  • Liver endothelial cell
  • Opsonin
  • Polystyrene microsphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Biophysics


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