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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences

First Advisor

Vyacheslav Sameshin

First Committee Member

Andreas Franz

Second Committee Member

Xin Guo

Third Committee Member

Xiaoling Li

Fourth Committee Member

Jianhua Ren

Fifth Committee Member

Wade Russu

Sixth Committee Member

Liang Xue


As a promising pH-triggerable molecular switch, trans -2-aminocyclohexanol (TACH) has a variety of applications. By introducing two hydrocarbon tails, multiple TACH-based lipids (flipids) have been designed and studied that are able to perform a drastic conformational flip upon protonation, loosening the stacking of hydrocarbon tails in lipid bilayers. Liposomes constructed from such flipids (fliposomes) can be disrupted by this acid-triggered conformational flip to cause a rapid release of a cargo specifically in areas of increased acidity (such as inflammation or ischemic tissues, solid tumor, and endosome pathway). A library of flipids has been built based on structural modifications of both amino headgroups and hydrophobic tails. A series of fliposomes have been constructed and their colloidal stability, capacity and pH-dependent leakage were investigated. A good correlation between the conformational switch of flipids studied by 1 H-NMR and the fliposomes' leakage indicated that the former is a cause for the latter. The obtained results showed that all the properties of fliposomes can be manipulated by selection of the amino headgroups structure and basicity, and the length and shape of hydrophobic tails, by using mixtures of different flipids or fliposomes, and by changing the content of flipids while constructing fliposomes. As a result, we prepared the pH-triggerable fliposomes with extraordinary characteristics: high stability in storage combined with instant release of their cargo in response to a weakly acidic medium. Fliposomes encapsulating the anticancer drug methotrexate (MTX) were applied to HeLa cells and demonstrated much higher cytotoxicity than the free drug and negative controls, indicating that they could conduct more efficient cellular delivery of MTX. The MTX-loaded fliposomes inhibited tumor growth in B16F1-melanoma-bearing nude mice compared to the control group, suggesting the anticancer activity of MTX delivered by pH-triggerable fliposomes in vivo. The results of research demonstrated the potential of fliposomes to serve as a viable drug delivery system.





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