Glyco-nanoparticles with sheddable saccharide shells: A unique and potent platform for hepatoma-targeting delivery of anticancer drugs

Wei Chen, Yan Zou, Fenghua Meng, Ru Cheng, Chao Deng, Jan Feijen, Zhiyuan Zhong

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87 Citations (Scopus)


Reduction-sensitive shell-sheddable glyco-nanoparticles were designed and developed based on poly(ε-caprolactone)-graft-SS-lactobionic acid (PCL-g-SS-LBA) copolymer for efficient hepatoma-targeting delivery of doxorubicin (DOX). PCL-g-SS-LBA was prepared by ring-opening copolymerization of ε-caprolactone and pyridyl disulfide carbonate followed by postpolymerization modification with thiolated lactobionic acid (LBA-SH) via thiol-disulfide exchange reaction. The dynamic light scattering (DLS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed that PCL-g-SS-LBA was self-assembled into monodisperse nanoparticles (SS-GNs) with a mean diameter of about 80 nm. SS-GNs while remaining stable under physiological conditions (37 °C, pH 7.4) were prone to rapid shell-shedding and aggregation in the presence of 10 mM dithiothreitol (DTT). DOX was loaded into SS-GNs with a decent loading content of 12.0 wt %. Notably, in vitro release studies revealed that about 80.3% DOX was released from DOX-loaded SS-GNs in 24 h under a reductive condition while low drug release (<21%) was observed for DOX-loaded PCL-g-LBA nanoparticles (reduction-insensitive control) under otherwise the same condition and for DOX-loaded SS-GNs under a nonreductive condition. The flow cytometry and confocal microscopy observations indicated that SS-GNs were efficiently taken up by asialoglycoprotein receptor (ASGP-R)-overexpressing HepG2 cells likely via a receptor-mediated endocytosis mechanism and DOX was released into the nuclei of cells following 4 h incubation. MTT assays showed that DOX-loaded SS-GNs exhibited a high antitumor activity toward HepG2 cells, which was comparable to free DOX and about 18-fold higher than their reduction-insensitive counterparts, while blank SS-GNs were nontoxic up to a tested concentration of 1.0 mg/mL. These shell-sheddable glyco-nanoparticles are promising for hepatoma-targeting chemotherapy.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)900-907
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • IR-95158
  • METIS-309526

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