Intravenously Administered Novel Liposomes, DCL64, Deliver Oligonucleotides to Cerebellar Purkinje Cells

Ana Tari Ashizawa, Jenny Holt, Kelsey Faust, Weier Liu, Anjana Tiwari, Nan Zhang, Tetsuo Ashizawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Cerebellar Purkinje cells (PCs) show conspicuous damages in many ataxic disorders. Targeted delivery of short nucleic acids, such as antisense oligonucleotides, to PCs may be a potential treatment for ataxic disorders, especially spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs), which are mostly caused by a gain of toxic function of the mutant RNA or protein. However, oligonucleotides do not cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), necessitating direct delivery into the central nervous system (CNS) through intra-thecal, intra-cisternal, intra-cerebral ventricular, or stereotactic parenchymal administration. We have developed a novel liposome (100 to 200 nm in diameter) formulation, DCL64, composed of dipalmitoyl-phosphatidylcholine, cholesterol, and poloxamer L64, which incorporates oligonucleotides efficiently (≥ 70%). Confocal microscopy showed that DCL64 was selectively taken up by brain microvascular endothelial cells by interacting with low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLr) family members on cell surface, but not with other types of lipid receptors such as caveolin or scavenger receptor class B type 1. LDLr family members are implicated in brain microvascular endothelial cell endocytosis/transcytosis, and are abundantly localized on cerebellar PCs. Intravenous administration of DCL64 in normal mice showed distribution of oligonucleotides to the brain, preferentially in PCs. Mice that received DCL64 showed no adverse effect on hematological, hepatic, and renal functions in blood tests, and no histopathological abnormalities in major organs. These studies suggest that DCL64 delivers oligonucleotides to PCs across the BBB via intravenous injection with no detectable adverse effects. This property potentially makes DCL64 particularly attractive as a delivery vehicle in treatments of SCAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-108
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Liposomes
  • Low-density lipoprotein receptor
  • Oligonucleotide
  • Purkinje cells
  • Spinocerebellar ataxias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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