In this work we have studied the effect of a low-frequency alternating magnetic field (LF-AMF) on the permeability of magnetoliposomes, i.e. liposomes including magnetic nanoparticles within their water pool. Large unilamellar liposomes loaded with magnetic cobalt ferrite nanoparticles (CoFe 2O4) have been prepared and characterized. Structural characterization of the liposomal dispersion has been performed by dynamic light scattering (DLS). The enhancement of liposome permeability upon exposure to LF-AMF has been measured as the self-quenching decrease of a fluorescent hydrophilic molecule (carboxyfluorescein, CF) entrapped in the liposome pool. Liposome leakage has been monitored as a function of field frequency, time of exposure and concentration, charge and size of the embedded nanoparticles. The results show that CF release from magnetoliposomes is strongly promoted by LF-AMF, reasonably as a consequence of nanoparticle motions in the liposome pool at the applied frequency. CF release as a function of time in magnetoliposomes unexposed to magnetic field follows Fickian diffusion, while samples exposed to LF-AMF show zero-order kinetics, consistently with an anomalous transport, due to an alteration of the bilayer permeability. These preliminary results open up new perspectives in the use of these systems as carriers in targeted and controlled release of drugs. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2010.