Enhanced hepatic clearance of intravenously administered sterically stabilized microspheres in zymosan-stimulated rats

S. M. Moghimi, H. Hedeman, N. M. Christy, L. Illum, S. S. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The blood clearance and organ deposition of sterically stabilized (poloxamine-908 coated) polystyrene microspheres of two different sizes (60 and 220 nm in diameter) were compared in control and zymosan-stimulated rats 3 h after intravenous administration. Poloxamine coating dramatically decreased the uptake of 60-nm microspheres by organs of the reticuloendothelial system and, concomitantly, kept microspheres in the blood. Large poloxamine-coated microspheres (220 nm) initially remained in the blood, but eventually a large fraction of these microspheres was filtered by the spleen. Daily administration of zymosan produced a marked increase in the intravascular clearance of the large, but not the small, poloxamine- coated microspheres. The enhanced intravascular clearance of large poloxamine-coated microspheres in zymosan-treated rats was the result of hepatic sequestration. On the other hand, the splenic filtration of these microspheres was depressed by 225% below the control values, despite the dramatic increase in spleen size of zymosan-treated rats. Preincubation of large poloxamine-coated microspheres in serum derived from both the control and zymosan-treated animals suggested that the enhanced hepatic uptake of large sterically stabilized microspheres following zymosan stimulation was not the result of 'specific opsonization' processes. Instead, the changes in the proliferative as well as the phagocytic response of Kupffer cells appeared to be responsible for these observations. The preferred hepatic uptake of large poloxamine-coated microspheres, as opposed to smaller particles, is suggested to be due to differences in surface characteristics and the properties of microspheres. These may include differences in polymer density and the surface conformation of the polyoxyethylene segments of the polymer in the biological environment and the way they interact with both plasma components and the macrophage surface. These observations could be of importance in the use of sterically stabilized drug carriers for delivery of therapeutic agents to sites other than the reticuloendothelial system in clinical conditions associated with globally or regionally enhanced reticuloendothelial activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-517
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1993


  • Kupffer cells
  • liver
  • poloxamine-908
  • polystyrene microspheres
  • spleen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhanced hepatic clearance of intravenously administered sterically stabilized microspheres in zymosan-stimulated rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this