Liposomes in Double-Emulsion Globules

Tubular liposomes containing a hydrophilic model compound (fluorescein sodium salt, FSS) were entrapped inside the internal aqueous phase (W1) of water-in-oil-in-water (W1/O/W2) double-emulsion globules. Our hypothesis was that the oil membrane of double emulsions can function as a layer of protection to liposomes and their contents and thus better control their release. Liposomes were prepared in bulk, and their release was observed microscopically from individual double-emulsion globules. The liposomes containing FSS were released through external coalescence, and the behavior of this system was monitored visually by capillary video microscopy. Double-emulsion globules were stabilized with Tween 80 as the water-soluble surfactant, with Span 80 as the oil-soluble surfactant, while the oil phase (O) was n-hexadecane. The lipids in the tubular liposomes consist of l-α-phosphatidylcholine and Ceramide-VI. Variations of Tween 80 concentration in the external aqueous phase (W2) and Span 80 concentration in the O phase controlled the release of liposomes from the W1 phase to the W2 phase. The major finding of this work is that the sheer presence of liposomes in the W1 phase is by itself a stabilizing factor for double-emulsion globules.