Uptake of synthetic low density Lipoprotein by leukemic stem cells--a potential stem cell targeted drug delivery strategy

Peixun Zhou, Sophia Hatziieremia, Moira A Elliott, Linda Scobie, Claire Crossan, Alison M Michie, Tessa L Holyoake, Gavin W Halbert, Heather G Jørgensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) stem/progenitor cells, which over-express Bcr-Abl, respond to imatinib by a reversible block in proliferation without significant apoptosis. As a result, patients are unlikely to be cured owing to the persistence of leukemic quiescent stem cells (QSC) capable of initiating relapse. Previously, we have reported that intracellular levels of imatinib in primary primitive CML cells (CD34+38(lo/⁻)), are significantly lower than in CML progenitor cells (total CD34+) and leukemic cell lines. The aim of this study was to determine if potentially sub-therapeutic intracellular drug concentrations in persistent leukemic QSC may be overcome by targeted drug delivery using synthetic Low Density Lipoprotein (sLDL) particles. As a first step towards this goal, however, the extent of uptake of sLDL by leukemic cell lines and CML patient stem/progenitor cells was investigated. Results with non-drug loaded particles have shown an increased and preferential uptake of sLDL by Bcr-Abl positive cell lines in comparison to Bcr-Abl negative. Furthermore, CML CD34+ and primitive CD34+38(lo/⁻) cells accumulated significantly higher levels of sLDL when compared with non-CML CD34+ cells. Thus, drug-loading the sLDL nanoparticles could potentially enhance intracellular drug concentrations in primitive CML cells and thus aid their eradication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-387
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Issue number3
Early online date22 Sept 2010
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2010


  • antigens
  • antineoplastic agents
  • cell line
  • cell membrane permeability
  • cells
  • drug delivery systems
  • hematopoietic stem cells
  • leukemia
  • leukocytes
  • lipoproteins
  • neoplastic stem cells
  • low density lipoprotein
  • chronic myeloid leukemia
  • CD34+
  • hemopoietic stem cells
  • nanoparticle


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