Administration of diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) is the treatment approach used to promote the decorporation of internalized plutonium. Here we evaluated the efficacy of PEGylated liposomes coated with DTPA, primarily designed to prevent enhanced plutonium accumulation in bones, compared to marketed nonliposomal DTPA and liposomes encapsulating DTPA. The comparative effects were examined in terms of reduction of activity in tissues of plutonium-injected rats. The prompt treatment with DTPA-coated liposomes elicited an even greater efficacy than that with liposome-encapsulated DTPA in limiting skeletal plutonium. This advantage, undoubtedly due to the anchorage of DTPA to the outer layer of liposomes, is discussed, as well as the reason for the loss of this superiority at delayed times after contamination. Plutonium complexed with DTPA-coated liposomes in extracellular compartments was partly diverted into the liver and the spleen. These complexes and those directly formed inside hepatic and splenic cells appeared to be degraded, then released from cells at extremely slow rates. This transitory accumulation of activity, which could not be counteracted by combining both liposomal forms, entailed an underestimation of the efficacy of DTPA-coated liposomes on soft tissue plutonium until total elimination probably more than one month after treatment. DTPA-coated liposomes may provide the best delivery vehicle of DTPA for preventing plutonium deposition in tissues, especially in bone where nuclides become nearly impossible to remove once fixed. Additional development efforts are needed to limit the diversion or to accelerate cell release of plutonium bound to DTPA-coated liposomes, using a labile bond for DTPA attachment.
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Vol. 195 • No. 1