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Atherosclerosis is a complex, multi-stage disease characterized by pathological changes across the vascular wall. Endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, hypoxia, and vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation contribute to its progression. An effective strategy capable of delivering pleiotropic treatment to the vascular wall is essential to limit neointimal formation. Echogenic liposomes (ELIP), which can encapsulate bioactive gases and therapeutic agents, have the potential to deliver enhanced penetration and treatment efficacy for atherosclerosis. In this study, liposomes loaded with nitric oxide (NO) and rosiglitazone, a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor agonist, were prepared using hydration, sonication, freeze-thawing, and pressurization. The efficacy of this delivery system was evaluated in a rabbit model of acute arterial injury induced by balloon injury to the common carotid artery. Intra-arterial administration of rosiglitazone/NO co-encapsulated liposomes (R/NO-ELIP) immediately following injury resulted in reduced intimal thickening after 14 days. The anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative effects of the co-delivery system were investigated. These liposomes were echogenic, enabling ultrasound imaging to assess their distribution and delivery. R/NO-ELIP delivery exhibited a greater attenuation (88 ± 15%) of intimal proliferation when compared to NO-ELIP (75 ± 13%) or R-ELIP (51 ± 6%) delivery alone. The study demonstrates the potential of echogenic liposomes as a promising platform for ultrasound imaging and therapeutic delivery.


Animals, Rabbits, Liposomes, Rosiglitazone, Drug Delivery Systems, Nitric Oxide, Atherosclerosis, Gases



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