Prednisolone-containing liposomes accumulate in human atherosclerotic macrophages upon intravenous administration

Fleur M. van der Valk, Diederik F. van Wijk, Mark E. Lobatto, Hein J. Verberne, Gert Storm, Martine C.M. Willems, Dink A. Legemate, Aart J. Nederveen, Claudia Calcagno, Venkatesh Mani, Sarayu Ramachandran, Maarten P.M. Paridaans, Maarten J. Otten, Geesje M. Dallinga-Thie, Zahi A. Fayad, Max Nieuwdorp, Dominik M. Schulte, Josbert M. Metselaar, Willem J.M. Mulder, Erik S. Stroes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Drug delivery to atherosclerotic plaques via liposomal nanoparticles may improve therapeutic agents' risk-benefit ratios. Our paper details the first clinical studies of a liposomal nanoparticle encapsulating prednisolone (LN-PLP) in atherosclerosis. First, PLP's liposomal encapsulation improved its pharmacokinetic profile in humans (n. =. 13) as attested by an increased plasma half-life of 63. h (LN-PLP 1.5. mg/kg). Second, intravenously infused LN-PLP appeared in 75% of the macrophages isolated from iliofemoral plaques of patients (n. =. 14) referred for vascular surgery in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. LN-PLP treatment did however not reduce arterial wall permeability or inflammation in patients with atherosclerotic disease (n. =. 30), as assessed by multimodal imaging in a subsequent randomized, placebo-controlled study. In conclusion, we successfully delivered a long-circulating nanoparticle to atherosclerotic plaque macrophages in patients, whereas prednisolone accumulation in atherosclerotic lesions had no anti-inflammatory effect. Nonetheless, the present study provides guidance for development and imaging-assisted evaluation of future nanomedicine in atherosclerosis. From the Clinical Editor: In this study, the authors undertook the first clinical trial using long-circulating liposomal nanoparticle encapsulating prednisolone in patients with atherosclerosis, based on previous animal studies. Despite little evidence of anti-inflammatory effect, the results have provided a starting point for future development of nanomedicine in cardiovascular diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1046
Number of pages8
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Macrophages
  • Nanomedicine


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