Contribution of Kupffer cells to liposome accumulation in the liver

Emma Samuelsson, Haifa Shen, Elvin Blanco, Mauro Ferrari, Joy Wolfram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


The liver is a major barrier for site-specific delivery of systemically injected nanoparticles, as up to 90% of the dose is usually captured by this organ. Kupffer cells are thought to be the main cellular component responsible for nanoparticle accumulation in the liver. These resident macrophages form part of the mononuclear phagocyte system, which recognizes and engulfs foreign bodies in the circulatory system. In this study, we have compared two strategies for reducing nanoparticle accumulation in the liver, in order to investigate the specific contribution of Kupffer cells. Specifically, we have performed a comparison of the capability of pegylation and Kupffer cell depletion to reduce liposome accumulation in the liver. Pegylation reduces nanoparticle interactions with all types of cells and can serve as a control for elucidating the role of specific cell populations in liver accumulation. The results indicate that liposome pegylation is a more effective strategy for avoiding liver uptake compared to depletion of Kupffer cells, suggesting that nanoparticle interactions with other cells in the liver may also play a contributing role. This study highlights the need for a more complete understanding of factors that mediate nanoparticle accumulation in the liver and for the exploration of microenvironmental modulation strategies for reducing nanoparticle-cell interactions in this organ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-362
Number of pages7
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Kupffer cells
  • Liver
  • Macrophages
  • Mononuclear phagocyte system
  • Nanoparticles
  • Pegylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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