Cyclic RGD-functionalized and disulfide-crosslinked iodine-rich polymersomes as a robust and smart theranostic agent for targeted CT imaging and chemotherapy of tumor

Yan Zou, Yaohua Wei, Yinping Sun, Jie Bao, Feirong Yao, Zekun Li, Fenghua Meng*, Chunhong Hu, Gert Storm, Zhiyuan Zhong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

There is tremendous interest in integrating CT imaging with chemotherapy; however, reported iodine-based nanosystems such as nanogels and nano-emulsions display typically reduced contrast coefficient, low drug loading and stability, and poor targetability. Here, cRGD-functionalized disulfide-crosslinked iodine-rich polymersomes (cRGD-XIPs) were designed as a novel, robust and smart theranostic agent and investigated for targeted CT imaging and chemotherapy of malignant tumors. Methods: cRGD-XIPs were prepared from co-self-assembly of poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(dithiolane trimethylene carbonate-co-iodinated trimethylene carbonate) (PEG-P(DTC-IC)) and cRGD-PEG-P(DTC-IC) block copolymers. In vitro and in vivo CT contrast effect of cRGD-XIPs was studied using αvβ3-overexpressing B16 melanoma as a tumor model in comparison with clinical agent iohexol. The therapeutic efficacy of doxorubicin-loaded cRGD-XIPs (cRGD-XIPs-Dox) to B16 melanoma was investigated and compared with XIPs-Dox (non-targeted), cRGD-IPs-Dox (non-crosslinked) and free Dox. Results: cRGD-XIPs were formed with 55.5 wt.% iodine and ca. 90 nm in diameter. cRGD-XIPs-Dox with a Dox loading of 15.3 wt.% bared superior colloidal stability and reduction-responsive drug release. Notably, blank cRGD-XIPs showed a maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) > 400 mg iodine equiv./kg while cRGD-XIPs-Dox had an MTD > 150 mg Dox equiv./kg, ca. 15-fold improvement over free Dox. cRGD-XIPs revealed superior CT contrast effect and achieved 46.5- and 24.0-fold better enhancement of CT imaging of B16 melanoma than iohexol at 4 h following intratumoral and intravenous injection, respectively. cRGD-XIPs-Dox displayed an elimination half-life of 6.5 h and an elevated accumulation of 6.68% ID/g in the tumors. Furthermore, cRGD-XIPs-Dox was significantly more effective than XIPs-Dox and cRGD-XPs-Dox in inhibiting growth of B16 melanoma model. Conclusion: This proof-of-concept study demonstrates that cRGD-XIPs are a robust, non-toxic and smart polymeric theranostic agent that can not only significantly enhance CT imaging of tumors but also mediate efficient tumor-targeted chemotherapy. XIPs offer a unique and safe platform for theranostic polymersomes that pre-select patients using CT imaging prior to targeted chemotherapy with the same system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8061-8072
Number of pages12
JournalTheranostics
Volume9
Issue number26
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • CT imaging
  • Polymersomes
  • Reduction-sensitive
  • Solid tumor
  • Targeted delivery

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