The sentinel lymph node (LN) is the first LN to which lymph fluid flows from tumor tissue. We identified the key parameters of liposomes (LPs) that affect their accumulation in regional (primary) LNs with minimum leakage to its connecting (secondary) LNs by a comprehensive analysis of the LN-to-LN trafficking of LPs with various surface charges and various sizes. We used a lymphatic flow-modified (LFM) mouse that allows for the chronological analysis of inguinal (primary) LN-to-axillary (secondary) LN at the body surface. As a result, the anionic medium-sized LPs (130 nm on average) exhibited the highest accumulation in the primary LNs. A mechanism-based analysis revealed that CD169-positive macrophages in LNs were the dominant cell population that captures anionic LPs. Sentinel LN imaging was also performed by the intratumoral injection of fluorescent medium-sized anionic LPs using a breast cancer orthotopic model. In comparison with the typically used contrast agent indocyanine green, the anionic LPs were detected in sentinel LNs with a high sensitivity. Additionally, the co-injection of hyaluronidase significantly improved the sensitivity of detection of the fluorescent LPs in sentinel LNs. In conclusion, medium-sized anionic LPs combined with hyaluronidase represents a potent strategy for investigating sentinel LNs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas