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1.  Poly(Ethylene Oxide)-Modified Poly(β-Amino Ester) Nanoparticles as a pH-Sensitive System for Tumor-Targeted Delivery of Hydrophobic Drugs: Part I. In Vitro Evaluations 
Molecular pharmaceutics  2005;2(5):357-366.
A representative poly(β-amino ester) (PbAE) with biodegradable and pH-sensitive properties was used to formulate nanoparticle-based dosage form for tumor-targeted paclitaxel delivery. The polymer undergoes rapid dissolution when the pH of the medium is less than 6.5, and hence is expected to release its contents at once within the acidic tumor microenvironment and endo/lysosome compartments of cells. PbAE nanoparticles were prepared by solvent displacement method and characterized for particle size, charge, and surface morphology. Pluronic® F-108, a triblock copolymer of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) and poly(propylene oxide) (PPO) was blended with PbAE to induce surface modification of the nanoparticles. In vitro cellular uptake of tritiated [3H] paclitaxel in solution form and as nanoparticulate formulation was studied in MDA-MB-231 human breast adenocarcinoma cells grown in 12-well plates. We also examined the intracellular degradation pattern of the formulations within the cells by estimating the drug release profile. Cytotoxicity assay was performed on the formulations at different doses and time intervals. Nanoparticles prepared from poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) that do not display pH-sensitive release behavior were used as control. Spherical nanoparticles having positive zeta potential (~ 40 mV) were obtained in the size range of 150–200 nm with PbAE. The PEO chains of the Pluronic® were well-anchored within the nanomatrix as determined by electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis (ESCA). The intracellular accumulation of paclitaxel within tumor cells was significantly higher when administered in the nanoparticle formulations as compared to aqueous solution. Qualitative fluorescent microscopy confirmed the rapid release of the payload in case of PbAE nanoparticles into the cytosol, while the PCL nanoparticles integrity remained intact. The cytotoxicity assay results showed significantly higher tumoricidal activity of paclitaxel when administered in the nanoparticle formulations. The cell-kill effect was maximal for paclitaxel-loaded PbAE nanoparticles when normalized with respect to intracellular drug concentrations. Thus, PEO-modified PbAE nanoparticles show tremendous potential as novel carriers of cytotoxic agents for achieving improved drug disposition and enhanced efficacy.
PMCID: PMC1350920  PMID: 16196488
Biodegradable; pH-sensitive; nanoparticles; poly(β-amino ester); cytotoxicity; triggered-release; paclitaxel
2.  Actively-targeted LTVSPWY peptide-modified magnetic nanoparticles for tumor imaging 
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is widely used in modern clinical medicine as a diagnostic tool, and provides noninvasive and three-dimensional visualization of biological phenomena in living organisms with high spatial and temporal resolution. Therefore, considerable attention has been paid to magnetic nanoparticles as MRI contrast agents with efficient targeting ability and cellular internalization ability, which make it possible to offer higher contrast and information-rich images for detection of disease.
LTVSPWY peptide-modified PEGylated chitosan (LTVSPWY-PEG-CS) was synthesized by chemical reaction, and the chemical structure was confirmed by 1H-NMR. LTVSPWY-PEG-CS-modified magnetic nanoparticles were prepared successfully using the solvent diffusion method. Their particle size, size distribution, and zeta potential were measured by dynamic light scattering and electrophoretic mobility, and their surface morphology was investigated by transmission electron microscopy. To investigate their selective targeting ability, the cellular uptake of the LTVSPWY-PEG-CS-modified magnetic nanoparticles was observed in a cocultured system of SKOV-3 cells which overexpress HER2 and A549 cells which are HER2-negative. The in vitro cytotoxicity of these nanoparticles in SKOV-3 and A549 cells was measured using the MTT method. The SKOV-3-bearing nude mouse model was used to investigate the tumor targeting ability of the magnetic nanoparticles in vivo.
The average diameter and zeta potential of the LTVSPWY-PEG-CS-modified magnetic nanoparticles was 267.3 ± 23.4 nm and 30.5 ± 7.0 mV, respectively, with a narrow size distribution and spherical morphology. In vitro cytotoxicity tests demonstrated that these magnetic nanoparticles were carriers suitable for use in cancer diagnostics with low toxicity. With modification of the LTVSPWY homing peptide, magnetic nanoparticles could be selectively taken up by SKOV-3 cells overexpressing HER2 when cocultured with HER2-negative A549 cells. In vivo biodistribution results suggest that treatment with LTVSPWY-PEG-CS-modified magnetic nanoparticles/DiR enabled tumors to be identified and diagnosed more rapidly and efficiently in vivo.
LTVSPWY-PEG-CS-modified magnetic nanoparticles are a promising contrast agent for early detection of tumors overexpressing HER2 and further diagnostic application.
PMCID: PMC3410692  PMID: 22866005
LTVSPWY peptide; HER2; poly(ethylene glycol); chitosan; magnetic nanoparticles; tumor targeting
3.  A Novel Docetaxel-Loaded Poly (ε-Caprolactone)/Pluronic F68 Nanoparticle Overcoming Multidrug Resistance for Breast Cancer Treatment 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2009;4(12):1530-1539.
Multidrug resistance (MDR) in tumor cells is a significant obstacle to the success of chemotherapy in many cancers. The purpose of this research is to test the possibility of docetaxel-loaded poly (ε-caprolactone)/Pluronic F68 (PCL/Pluronic F68) nanoparticles to overcome MDR in docetaxel-resistance human breast cancer cell line. Docetaxel-loaded nanoparticles were prepared by modified solvent displacement method using commercial PCL and self-synthesized PCL/Pluronic F68, respectively. PCL/Pluronic F68 nanoparticles were found to be of spherical shape with a rough and porous surface. The nanoparticles had an average size of around 200 nm with a narrow size distribution. The in vitro drug release profile of both nanoparticle formulations showed a biphasic release pattern. There was an increased level of uptake of PCL/Pluronic F68 nanoparticles in docetaxel-resistance human breast cancer cell line, MCF-7 TAX30, when compared with PCL nanoparticles. The cytotoxicity of PCL nanoparticles was higher than commercial Taxotere® in the MCF-7 TAX30 cell culture, but the differences were not significant (p > 0.05). However, the PCL/Pluronic F68 nanoparticles achieved significantly higher level of cytotoxicity than both of PCL nanoparticles and Taxotere® (p < 0.05), indicating docetaxel-loaded PCL/Pluronic F68 nanoparticles could overcome multidrug resistance in human breast cancer cells and therefore have considerable potential for treatment of breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC2894322  PMID: 20652101
Nanoparticles; MDR; Pluronic F68; Poly (ε-caprolactone); Docetaxel; Breast cancer
4.  A Novel Docetaxel-Loaded Poly (ε-Caprolactone)/Pluronic F68 Nanoparticle Overcoming Multidrug Resistance for Breast Cancer Treatment 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2009;4(12):1530-1539.
Multidrug resistance (MDR) in tumor cells is a significant obstacle to the success of chemotherapy in many cancers. The purpose of this research is to test the possibility of docetaxel-loaded poly (ε-caprolactone)/Pluronic F68 (PCL/Pluronic F68) nanoparticles to overcome MDR in docetaxel-resistance human breast cancer cell line. Docetaxel-loaded nanoparticles were prepared by modified solvent displacement method using commercial PCL and self-synthesized PCL/Pluronic F68, respectively. PCL/Pluronic F68 nanoparticles were found to be of spherical shape with a rough and porous surface. The nanoparticles had an average size of around 200 nm with a narrow size distribution. The in vitro drug release profile of both nanoparticle formulations showed a biphasic release pattern. There was an increased level of uptake of PCL/Pluronic F68 nanoparticles in docetaxel-resistance human breast cancer cell line, MCF-7 TAX30, when compared with PCL nanoparticles. The cytotoxicity of PCL nanoparticles was higher than commercial Taxotere®in the MCF-7 TAX30 cell culture, but the differences were not significant (p > 0.05). However, the PCL/Pluronic F68 nanoparticles achieved significantly higher level of cytotoxicity than both of PCL nanoparticles and Taxotere®(p < 0.05), indicating docetaxel-loaded PCL/Pluronic F68 nanoparticles could overcome multidrug resistance in human breast cancer cells and therefore have considerable potential for treatment of breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC2894322  PMID: 20652101
Nanoparticles; MDR; Pluronic F68; Poly (ε-caprolactone); Docetaxel; Breast cancer
5.  Functional DNA-Containing Nanomaterials: Cellular Applications in Biosensing, Imaging, and Targeted Therapy 
Accounts of Chemical Research  2014;47(6):1891-1901.
DNA performs a vital function as a carrier of genetic code, but in the field of nanotechnology, DNA molecules can catalyze chemical reactions in the cell, that is, DNAzymes, or bind with target-specific ligands, that is, aptamers. These functional DNAs with different modifications have been developed for sensing, imaging, and therapeutic systems. Thus, functional DNAs hold great promise for future applications in nanotechnology and bioanalysis. However, these functional DNAs face challenges, especially in the field of biomedicine. For example, functional DNAs typically require the use of cationic transfection reagents to realize cellular uptake. Such reagents enter the cells, increasing the difficulty of performing bioassays in vivo and potentially damaging the cell’s nucleus. To address this obstacle, nanomaterials, such as metallic, carbon, silica, or magnetic materials, have been utilized as DNA carriers or assistants. In this Account, we describe selected examples of functional DNA-containing nanomaterials and their applications from our recent research and those of others. As models, we have chosen to highlight DNA/nanomaterial complexes consisting of gold nanoparticles, graphene oxides, and aptamer–micelles, and we illustrate the potential of such complexes in biosensing, imaging, and medical diagnostics.
Under proper conditions, multiple ligand–receptor interactions, decreased steric hindrance, and increased surface roughness can be achieved from a high density of DNA that is bound to the surface of nanomaterials, resulting in a higher affinity for complementary DNA and other targets. In addition, this high density of DNA causes a high local salt concentration and negative charge density, which can prevent DNA degradation. For example, DNAzymes assembled on gold nanoparticles can effectively catalyze chemical reactions even in living cells. And it has been confirmed that DNA–nanomaterial complexes can enter cells more easily than free single-stranded DNA.
Nanomaterials can be designed and synthesized in needed sizes and shapes, and they possess unique chemical and physical properties, which make them useful as DNA carriers or assistants, excellent signal reporters, transducers, and amplifiers. When nanomaterials are combined with functional DNAs to create novel assay platforms, highly sensitive biosensing and high-resolution imaging result. For example, gold nanoparticles and graphene oxides can quench fluorescence efficiently to achieve low background and effectively increase the signal-to-background ratio. Meanwhile, gold nanoparticles themselves can be colorimetric reporters because of their different optical absorptions between monodispersion and aggregation.
DNA self-assembled nanomaterials contain several properties of both DNA and nanomaterials. Compared with DNA–nanomaterial complexes, DNA self-assembled nanomaterials more closely resemble living beings, and therefore they have lower cytotoxicity at high concentrations. Functional DNA self-assemblies also have high density of DNA for multivalent reaction and three-dimensional nanostructures for cell uptake. Now and in the future, we envision the use of DNA bases in making designer molecules for many challenging applications confronting chemists. With the further development of artificial DNA bases using smart organic synthesis, DNA macromolecules based on elegant molecular assembly approaches are expected to achieve great diversity, additional versatility, and advanced functions.
PMCID: PMC4066909  PMID: 24780000
6.  The role of surface charge on the uptake and biocompatibility of hydroxyapatite nanoparticles with osteoblast cells 
Nanotechnology  2011;22(10):105708.
The objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of hydroxyapatite (HAP) nanoparticles with different surface charges on the cellular uptake behavior and in vitro cell viability and proliferation of MC3T3-E1 cell lines (osteoblast). The nanoparticles surface charge was varied by the surface modification with two carboxylic acids: 12-aminododecanoic acid (positive) and dodecanedioic acid (negative). The untreated HAP nanoparticles and dodecanoic acid modified HAP nanoparticles (neutral) were used as the control. X-ray diffraction (XRD) revealed that surface modifications by the three carboxylic acids did not change the crystal structure of HAP nanoparticles; Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) confirmed the adsorption and binding of the carboxylic acids on HAP nanoparticle surface; and zeta potential measurement confirmed that the chemicals successfully modified the surface charge of HAP nanoparticles in water based solution. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images showed that positively charged, negatively charged and untreated HAP nanoparticles, with similar size and shape, all penetrated into the cells and cells had more uptake of HAP nanoparticles with positive charge compared to those with negative charge, which might be attributed to the attractive or repulsive interaction between the negatively charged cell membrane and positively/negatively charged HAP nanoparticles. The neutral HAP nanoparticles could not penetrate cell membrane due to the larger size. MTT assay and LDH assay results indicated that as compared with the polystyrene control, greater cell viability and cell proliferation were measured on MC3T3-E1 cells treated with the three kinds of the HAP nanoparticles (neutral, positive, and untreated), among which positively charged HAP nanoparticles shows strongest improvement for cell viability and cell proliferation. In summary, the surface charge of HAP nanoparticles can be modified to influence the cellular uptake of HAP nanoparticles and the different uptake also influence the behavior of cells. These in-vitro results may also provide useful information for investigations of HAP nanoparticles applications in the gene delivery and intracellular drug delivery.
PMCID: PMC3144725  PMID: 21289408
7.  A green chemistry approach for synthesizing biocompatible gold nanoparticles 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2014;9(1):248.
Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are a fascinating class of nanomaterial that can be used for a wide range of biomedical applications, including bio-imaging, lateral flow assays, environmental detection and purification, data storage, drug delivery, biomarkers, catalysis, chemical sensors, and DNA detection. Biological synthesis of nanoparticles appears to be simple, cost-effective, non-toxic, and easy to use for controlling size, shape, and stability, which is unlike the chemically synthesized nanoparticles. The aim of this study was to synthesize homogeneous AuNPs using pharmaceutically important Ganoderma spp. We developed a simple, non-toxic, and green method for water-soluble AuNP synthesis by treating gold (III) chloride trihydrate (HAuCl4) with a hot aqueous extract of the Ganoderma spp. mycelia. The formation of biologically synthesized AuNPs (bio-AuNPs) was characterized by ultraviolet (UV)-visible absorption spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX), dynamic light scattering (DLS), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Furthermore, the biocompatibility of as-prepared AuNPs was evaluated using a series of assays, such as cell viability, lactate dehydrogenase leakage, and reactive oxygen species generation (ROS) in human breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231). The color change of the solution from yellow to reddish pink and strong surface plasmon resonance were observed at 520 nm using UV-visible spectroscopy, and that indicated the formation of AuNPs. DLS analysis revealed the size distribution of AuNPs in liquid solution, and the average size of AuNPs was 20 nm. The size and morphology of AuNPs were investigated using TEM. The biocompatibility effect of as-prepared AuNPs was investigated in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells by using various concentrations of AuNPs (10 to 100 μM) for 24 h. Our findings suggest that AuNPs are non-cytotoxic and biocompatible. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to describe the synthesis of monodispersed, biocompatible, and soluble AuNPs with an average size of 20 nm using Ganoderma spp. This study opens up new possibilities of using an inexpensive and non-toxic mushroom extract as a reducing and stabilizing agent for the synthesis of size-controlled, large-scale, biocompatible, and monodispersed AuNPs, which may have future diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
PMCID: PMC4035729  PMID: 24940177
AuNPs; Biocompatibility; Ganoderma spp; Human breast cancer cells; Transmission electron microscopy; UV-visible spectroscopy
8.  Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles Using Hydroxyl Functionalized Ionic Liquids and Their Antimicrobial Activity 
We report a new one phase method for the synthesis of uniform monodisperse crystalline Ag nanoparticles in aqueous systems that has been developed by using newly synthesized mono and dihydroxylated ionic liquids and cationic surfactants based on 1,3-disubstituted imidazolium cations and halogens anions. The hydroxyl functionalized ionic liquids (HFILs) and hydroxyl functionalized cationic surfactants (HFCSs) also simultaneously acts both as the reductant and protective agent. By changing the carbon chain length, alcohol structure and anion of the 1,3-imidazolium based HFILs and HFCSs the particle size, uniform and dispersibility of nanoparticles in aqueous solvents could be controlled. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, UV-Vis and NMR, were used for characterization of HFILs, HFCSs and silver nanoparticles. TEM studies on the solution showed representative spherical silver nanoparticles with average sizes 2–8 nm, particularly 2.2 nm and 4.5 nm in size range and reasonable narrow particle size distributions (SD-standard distribution) 0.2 nm and 0.5 nm respectively. The all metal nanoparticles are single crystals with face centered cubic (fcc) structure. The silver nanoparticles surface of plasmon resonance band (λmax) around 420 nm broadened and little moved to the long wavelength region that indicating the formation of silver nanoparticles dispersion with broad absorption around infrared (IR) region. Silver complexes of these HFILs as well as different silver nanoparticles dispersions have been tested in vitro against several gram positive and gram negative bacteria and fungus. The silver nanoparticles providing environmentally friendly and high antimicrobial activity agents.
PMCID: PMC2635708  PMID: 19325785
Silver nanoparticles; hydroxyl functionalized ionic liquids; hydroxyl functionalized cationic surfactants; antimicrobial activity
9.  Enhanced cellular uptake of aminosilane-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles in mammalian cell lines 
To compare the cellular uptake efficiency and cytotoxicity of aminosilane (SiO2-NH2)-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO@SiO2-NH2) nanoparticles with three other types of SPIO nanoparticles coated with SiO2 (SPIO@SiO2), dextran (SPIO@dextran), or bare SPIO in mammalian cell lines.
Materials and methods
Four types of monodispersed SPIO nanoparticles with a SPIO core size of 7 nm and an overall size in a range of 7–15 nm were synthesized. The mammalian cell lines of MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, HT-29, RAW264.7, L929, HepG2, PC-3, U-87 MG, and mouse mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were incubated with four types of SPIO nanoparticles for 24 hours in the serum-free culture medium Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium (DMEM) with 4.5 μg/mL iron concentration. The cellular uptake efficiencies of SPIO nanoparticles were compared by Prussian blue staining and intracellular iron quantification. In vitro magnetic resonance imaging of MSC pellets after SPIO labeling was performed at 3 T. The effect of each SPIO nanoparticle on the cell viability of RAW 264.7 (mouse monocyte/macrophage) cells was also evaluated.
Transmission electron microscopy demonstrated surface coating with SiO2-NH2, SiO2, and dextran prevented SPIO nanoparticle aggregation in DMEM culture medium. MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, and HT-29 cells failed to show notable iron uptake. For all the remaining six cell lines, Prussian blue staining and intracellular iron quantification demonstrated that SPIO@ SiO2-NH2 nanoparticles had the highest cellular uptake efficiency. SPIO@SiO2-NH2, bare SPIO, and SPIO@dextran nanoparticles did not affect RAW 264.7 cell viability up to 200 μg Fe/mL, while SPIO@SiO2 reduced RAW 264.7 cell viability from 10 to 200 μg Fe/mL in a dose-dependent manner.
Cellular uptake efficiency of SPIO nanoparticles depends on both the cell type and SPIO surface characteristics. Aminosilane surface coating enhanced the cellular uptake efficiency without inducing cytotoxicity in a number of cell lines.
PMCID: PMC3289449  PMID: 22393292
magnetic nanoparticles; SPIO; iron oxide; surface coating; cellular uptake
10.  Acceleration of gene transfection efficiency in neuroblastoma cells through polyethyleneimine/poly(methyl methacrylate) core-shell magnetic nanoparticles 
The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the potential of magnetic poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) core/polyethyleneimine (PEI) shell (mag-PEI) nanoparticles, which possess high saturation magnetization for gene delivery. By using mag-PEI nanoparticles as a gene carrier, this study focused on evaluation of transfection efficiency under magnetic induction. The potential role of this newly synthesized nanosphere for therapeutic delivery of the tryptophan hydroxylase-2 (TPH-2) gene was also investigated in cultured neuronal LAN-5 cells.
The mag-PEI nanoparticles were prepared by one-step emulsifier-free emulsion polymerization, generating highly loaded and monodispersed magnetic polymeric nanoparticles bearing an amine group. The physicochemical properties of the mag-PEI nanoparticles and DNA-bound mag-PEI nanoparticles were investigated using the gel retardation assay, atomic force microscopy, and zeta size measurements. The gene transfection efficiencies of mag-PEI nanoparticles were evaluated at different transfection times. Confocal laser scanning microscopy confirmed intracellular uptake of the magnetoplex. The optimal conditions for transfection of TPH-2 were selected for therapeutic gene transfection. We isolated the TPH-2 gene from the total RNA of the human medulla oblongata and cloned it into an expression vector. The plasmid containing TPH-2 was subsequently bound onto the surfaces of the mag-PEI nanoparticles via electrostatic interaction. Finally, the mag-PEI nanoparticle magnetoplex was delivered into LAN-5 cells. Reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction was performed to evaluate TPH-2 expression in a quantitative manner.
The study demonstrated the role of newly synthesized high-magnetization mag-PEI nanoparticles for gene transfection in vitro. The expression signals of a model gene, luciferase, and a therapeutic gene, TPH-2, were enhanced under magnetic-assisted transfection. An in vitro study in neuronal cells confirmed that using mag-PEI nanoparticles as a DNA carrier for gene delivery provided high transfection efficiency with low cytotoxicity.
The mag-PEI nanoparticle is a promising alternative gene transfection reagent due to its ease of use, effectiveness, and low cellular toxicity. The mag-PEI nanoparticle is not only practical for gene transfection in cultured neuronal cells but may also be suitable for transfection in other cells as well.
PMCID: PMC3373300  PMID: 22701321
magnetic nanoparticle; non-viral vector; gene delivery; tryptophan hydroxylase-2; LAN-5; neuronal cells
11.  Chitosan–Pluronic nanoparticles as oral delivery of anticancer gemcitabine: preparation and in vitro study 
Nanoparticles have proven to be an effective delivery system with few side effects for anticancer drugs. In this study, gemcitabine-loaded nanoparticles have been prepared by an ionic gelation method using chitosan and Pluronic® F-127 as a carrier. Prepared nanoparticles were characterized using dynamic light scattering, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Different parameters such as concentration of sodium tripolyphosphate, chitosan, Pluronic, and drug on the properties of the prepared nanoparticles were evaluated. In vitro drug release was studied in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS; pH = 7.4). The cytotoxicity of the nanoparticles was assayed in the HT-29 colon cancer cell line. The mucoadhesion behavior of the nanoparticles was also studied by mucus glycoprotein assay. The prepared nanoparticles had a spherical shape with positive charge and a mean diameter ranging between 80 to 170 nm. FT-IR and DSC studies found that the drug was dispersed in its amorphous form due to its potent interaction with nanoparticle matrix. Maximum drug encapsulation efficiency was achieved at 0.4 mg/mL gemcitabine while maximum drug loading was 6% obtained from 0.6 mg/mL gemcitabine. An in vitro drug release study at 37°C in PBS (pH = 7.4) exhibited a controlled release profile for chitosan–Pluronic® F-127 nanoparticles. A cytotoxicity assay of gemcitabine-loaded nanoparticles showed an increase in the cytotoxicity of gemcitabine embedded in the nanoparticles in comparison with drug alone. The mucoadhesion study results suggest that nanoparticles could be considered as an efficient oral formulation for colon cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC3352690  PMID: 22605934
chitosan; nanoparticles; ionic gelation; gemcitabine; mucoadhesion; oral drug delivery; anticancer
12.  Multifunctional polymeric nanoparticles doubly loaded with SPION and ceftiofur retain their physical and biological properties 
Advances in nanostructure materials are leading to novel strategies for drug delivery and targeting, contrast media for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), agents for hyperthermia and nanocarriers. Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) are useful for all of these applications, and in drug-release systems, SPIONs allow for the localization, direction and concentration of drugs, providing a broad range of therapeutic applications. In this work, we developed and characterized polymeric nanoparticles based on poly (3-hydroxybutyric acid-co-hydroxyvaleric acid) (PHBV) functionalized with SPIONs and/or the antibiotic ceftiofur. These nanoparticles can be used in multiple biomedical applications, and the hybrid SPION–ceftiofur nanoparticles (PHBV/SPION/CEF) can serve as a multifunctional platform for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and its associated bacterial infections.
Morphological examination using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed nanoparticles with a spherical shape and a core-shell structure. The particle size was evaluated using dynamic light scattering (DLS), which revealed a diameter of 243.0 ± 17 nm. The efficiency of encapsulation (45.5 ± 0.6% w/v) of these polymeric nanoparticles was high, and their components were evaluated using spectroscopy. UV–VIS, FTIR and DSC showed that all of the nanoparticles contained the desired components, and these compounds interacted to form a nanocomposite. Using the agar diffusion method and live/dead bacterial viability assays, we demonstrated that these nanoparticles have antimicrobial properties against Escherichia coli, and they retain their magnetic properties as measured using a vibrating sample magnetometer (VSM). Cytotoxicity was assessed in HepG2 cells using live/dead viability assays and MTS, and these assays showed low cytotoxicity with IC50 > 10 mg/mL nanoparticles.
Our results indicate that hybrid and multifunctional PHBV/SPION/CEF nanoparticles are suitable as a superparamagnetic drug delivery system that can guide, concentrate and site–specifically release drugs with antibacterial activity.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12951-015-0077-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4334767  PMID: 25886018
PHBV; SPION; Ceftiofur; Polymeric nanoparticles; Drug delivery; Superparamagnetic nanoparticles
13.  Effects of magnetic cobalt ferrite nanoparticles on biological and artificial lipid membranes 
The purpose of this work is to provide experimental evidence on the interactions of suspended nanoparticles with artificial or biological membranes and to assess the possibility of suspended nanoparticles interacting with the lipid component of biological membranes.
1-Palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) lipid vesicles and human red blood cells were incubated in suspensions of magnetic bare cobalt ferrite (CoFe2O4) or citric acid (CA)-adsorbed CoFe2O4 nanoparticles dispersed in phosphate-buffered saline and glucose solution. The stability of POPC giant unilamellar vesicles after incubation in the tested nanoparticle suspensions was assessed by phase-contrast light microscopy and analyzed with computer-aided imaging. Structural changes in the POPC multilamellar vesicles were assessed by small angle X-ray scattering, and the shape transformation of red blood cells after incubation in tested suspensions of nanoparticles was observed using scanning electron microscopy and sedimentation, agglutination, and hemolysis assays.
Artificial lipid membranes were disturbed more by CA-adsorbed CoFe2O4 nanoparticle suspensions than by bare CoFe2O4 nanoparticle suspensions. CA-adsorbed CoFe2O4-CA nanoparticles caused more significant shape transformation in red blood cells than bare CoFe2O4 nanoparticles.
Consistent with their smaller sized agglomerates, CA-adsorbed CoFe2O4 nanoparticles demonstrate more pronounced effects on artificial and biological membranes. Larger agglomerates of nanoparticles were confirmed to be reactive against lipid membranes and thus not acceptable for use with red blood cells. This finding is significant with respect to the efficient and safe application of nanoparticles as medicinal agents.
PMCID: PMC3970951  PMID: 24741305
CoFe2O4; nanoparticles; agglomerates; human red blood cells; lipid vesicles
14.  Biocompatible Polysiloxane-Containing Diblock Copolymer PEO-b-PγMPS for Coating Magnetic Nanoparticles 
ACS applied materials & interfaces  2009;1(10):2134-2140.
We report a biocompatible polysiloxane containing amphiphilic diblock copolymer, poly(ethylene oxide)-block-poly(γ-methacryloxypropyltrimethoxysilane) (PEO-b-PγMPS), for coating and stabilizing nanoparticles for biomedical applications. Such amphiphilic diblock copolymer which comprises both a hydrophobic segment with “surface anchoring moiety” (silane group) and a hydrophilic segment with PEO (Mn=5000 g/mol) was obtained by the reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization using the PEO macromolecular chain transfer agent. When used for coating paramagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs), copolymers were mixed with hydrophobic oleic acid coated core size uniformed IONPs (D=13 nm) in co-solvent tetrahydrofuran. After being aged over a period of time, resulting monodispersed IONPs can be transferred into aqueous medium. With proper PγMPS block length (Mn=10,000 g/mol), polysiloxane containing diblock copolymers formed a thin layer of coating (~3 nm) around monocrystalline nanoparticles as measured by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) experiments showed excellent T2 weighted contrast effect from coated IONPs with a transverse relaxivity r2=98.6 mM−1s−1 (at 1.5 Tesla). Such thin coating layer has little effect on the relaxivity when compared to that of IONPs coated with conventional amphiphilic copolymer. Polysiloxane containing diblock copolymer coated IONPs are stable without aggregation or binding to proteins in serum when incubated for 24 h in culture medium containing 10% serum. Furthermore, much lower level of intracellular uptake by macrophage cells was observed with polysiloxane containing diblock copolymers coated IONPs, suggesting the reduction of non-specific cell uptakes and antibiofouling effect.
PMCID: PMC2799899  PMID: 20161520
diblock copolymer; silanes; coating; nanoparticle; magnetic resonance imaging
15.  Gold-Coated Iron Composite Nanospheres Targeted the Detection of Escherichia coli 
We report the preparation and characterization of spherical core-shell structured Fe3O4–Au magnetic nanoparticles, modified with two component self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) consisting of 3–mercaptophenylboronic acid (3–MBA) and 1–decanethiol (1–DT). The rapid and room temperature synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles was achieved using the hydroxylamine reduction of HAuCl4 on the surface of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)-immobilized iron (magnetite Fe3O4) nanoparticles in the presence of an aqueous solution of hexadecyltrimetylammonium bromide (CTAB) as a dispersant. The reduction of gold on the surface of Fe3O4 nanoparticles exhibits a uniform, highly stable, and narrow particle size distribution of Fe3O4–Au nanoparticles with an average diameter of 9 ± 2 nm. The saturation magnetization value for the resulting nanoparticles was found to be 15 emu/g at 298 K. Subsequent surface modification with SAMs against glucoside moieties on the surface of bacteria provided effective magnetic separation. Comparison of the bacteria capturing efficiency, by means of different molecular recognition agents 3–MBA, 1–DT and the mixed monolayer of 3–MBA and 1–DT was presented. The best capturing efficiency of E. coli was achieved with the mixed monolayer of 3–MBA and 1–DT-modified nanoparticles. Molecular specificity and selectivity were also demonstrated by comparing the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectrum of E. coli-nanoparticle conjugates with bacterial growth media.
PMCID: PMC3634437  PMID: 23507756
magnetic gold nanoparticle; SERS; immunomagnetic separation; E. coli; surface functionalisation of particles
16.  Development and characterization of chitosan-PEG-TAT nanoparticles for the intracellular delivery of siRNA 
Recently, cell-penetrating peptides have been proposed to translocate antibodies, proteins, and other molecules in targeted drug delivery. The proposed study presents the synthesis and characterization of a peptide-based chitosan nanoparticle for small interfering RNA (siRNA) delivery, in-vitro. Specifically, the synthesis included polyethylene glycol (PEG), a hydrophilic polymer, and trans-activated transcription (TAT) peptide, which were chemically conjugated on the chitosan polymer. The conjugation was achieved using N-Hydroxysuccinimide-PEG-maleimide (heterobifunctional PEG) as a cross-linker, with the bifunctional PEG facilitating the amidation reaction through its N-Hydroxysuccinimide group and reacting with the amines on chitosan. At the other end of PEG, the maleimide group was chemically conjugated with the cysteine-modified TAT peptide. The degree of substitution on chitosan with PEG and on PEG with TAT was confirmed using colorimetric assays. The resultant polymer was used to form nanoparticles complexing siRNA, which were then characterized for particle size, morphology, cellular uptake, and cytotoxicity. The nanoparticles were tested in-vitro on mouse neuroblastoma cells (Neuro2a). Particle size and surface charge were characterized and an optimal pH condition and PEG molecular weight were determined to form sterically stable nanoparticles. Results indicate 7.5% of the amines in chitosan polymer were conjugated to the PEG and complete conjugation of TAT peptide was observed on the synthesized PEGylated chitosan polymer. Compared with unmodified chitosan nanoparticles, the nanoparticles formed at pH 6 were monodispersed and of <100 nm in size, exhibiting maximum cell transfection ability and very low cytotoxicity. Thus, this research may be of significance in translocating biotherapeutic molecules for intracellular delivery applications.
PMCID: PMC3666663  PMID: 23723699
chemical conjugation; peptide; transfection; polymer; synthesis; in-vitro
17.  Methanobactin-Mediated One-Step Synthesis of Gold Nanoparticles 
Preparation of gold nanoparticles with a narrow size distribution has enormous importance in nanotechnology. Methanobactin (Mb) is a copper-binding small peptide that appears to function as an agent for copper sequestration and uptake in methanotrophs. Mb can also bind and catalytically reduce Au (III) to Au (0). In this study, we demonstrate a facile Mb-mediated one-step synthetic route to prepare monodispersed gold nanoparticles. Continuous reduction of Au (III) by Mb can be achieved by using hydroquinone as the reducing agent. The gold nanoparticles have been characterized by UV-visible spectroscopy. The formation and the surface plasmon resonance properties of the gold nanoparticles are highly dependent on the ratio of Au (III) to Mb in solution. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), fluorescence spectra and Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) spectra suggest that Mb molecules catalytically reduce Au (III) to Au (0) with the concomitant production of gold nanoparticles, and then, Mb statically adsorbed onto the surface of gold nanoparticles to form an Mb-gold nanoparticles assembly. This avoids secondary nucleation. The formed gold nanoparticles have been demonstrated to be monodispersed and uniform by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images. Analysis of these particles shows an average size of 14.9 nm with a standard deviation of 1.1 nm. The gold nanoparticles are extremely stable and can resist aggregation, even after several months.
PMCID: PMC3856028  PMID: 24189217
methanobactin; methanotrophs; gold nanoparticles; hydroquinone; monodisperse
18.  Molecularly Self-Assembled Nucleic Acid Nanoparticles for Targeted In Vivo siRNA Delivery 
Nature nanotechnology  2012;7(6):389-393.
Nanoparticles are employed for delivering therapeutics into cells1,2. However, size, shape, surface chemistry and the presentation of targeting ligands on the surface of nanoparticles can affect circulation half-life and biodistribution, cell specific internalization, excretion, toxicity, and efficacy3-7. A variety of materials have been explored for delivering small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) - a therapeutic agent that suppresses the expression of targeted genes8,9. However, conventional delivery nanoparticles such as liposomes and polymeric systems are heterogeneous in size, composition and surface chemistry, and this can lead to suboptimal performance, lack of tissue specificity and potential toxicity10-12. Here, we show that self-assembled DNA tetrahedral nanoparticles with a well-defined size can deliver siRNAs into cells and silence target genes in tumours. Monodisperse nanoparticles are prepared through the self-assembly of complementary DNA strands. Because the DNA strands are easily programmable, the size of the nanoparticles and the spatial orientation and density of cancer targeting ligands (such as peptides and folate) on the nanoparticle surface can be precisely controlled. We show that at least three folate molecules per nanoparticle is required for optimal delivery of the siRNAs into cells and, gene silencing occurs only when the ligands are in the appropriate spatial orientation. In vivo, these nanoparticles showed a longer blood circulation time (t1/2 ∼ 24.2 min) than the parent siRNA (t1/2 ∼ 6 min).
PMCID: PMC3898745  PMID: 22659608
19.  Downregulation of VEGF mRNA expression by triamcinolone acetonide acetate-loaded chitosan derivative nanoparticles in human retinal pigment epithelial cells 
The purpose of this study was to investigate the downregulation of mRNA expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by triamcinolone acetonide acetate (TAA)-loaded chitosan nanoparticles in human retinal pigment epithelial cells.
TAA-loaded deoxycholic acid-modified chitosan (TAA/DA-Chit) nanoparticles were prepared via a self-assembly mechanism, and their morphology and zeta potential were examined by transmission electron microscopy and zeta potential analysis, respectively. DA-Chit and TAA/DA-Chit nanoparticle toxicity was evaluated using a Cell Counting Kit-8 assay. The efficiency of cellular uptake was determined using fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled DA-Chit nanoparticles, in place of TAA/DA-Chit nanoparticles, assessed by both inverted fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Downregulation of VEGF mRNA expression by TAA/DA-Chit nanoparticles was further investigated by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay of the treated human retinal pigment epithelial cells.
TAA/DA-Chit nanoparticles were prepared with a TAA-loading capacity in the range of 12%–82%, which increased the water solubility of TAA from 0.3 mg/mL to 2.1 mg/mL. These nanoparticles showed oblate shapes 100–550 nm in size in transmission electron microscopic images and had positive zeta potentials. The Cell Counting Kit-8 assay indicated that the DA-Chit and TAA/DA-Chit nanoparticles had no toxicity and low toxicity, respectively, to human retinal pigment epithelial cells. Fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled DA-Chit nanoparticle uptake by human retinal pigment epithelial cells was confirmed by inverted fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Real-time RT-PCR assay showed that the VEGF mRNA level decreased after incubation of human retinal pigment epithelial cells with TAA/DA-Chit nanoparticles.
TAA/DA-Chit nanoparticles had a downregulating effect on VEGF mRNA expression in human retinal pigment epithelial cells and low cytotoxicity, which might be beneficial characteristics for the development of future treatment for diabetic retinopathy.
PMCID: PMC3428247  PMID: 22942646
chitosan; nanoparticle; triamcinolone acetonide acetate; human retinal pigment epithelial cells; vascular endothelial growth factor; mRNA
20.  Antibacterial properties of silver nanoparticles synthesized by marine Ochrobactrum sp 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2015;45(4):1221-1227.
Metal nanoparticle synthesis is an interesting area in nanotechnology due to their remarkable optical, magnetic, electrical, catalytic and biomedical properties, but there needs to develop clean, non-toxic and environmental friendly methods for the synthesis and assembly of nanoparticles. Biological agents in the form of microbes have emerged up as efficient candidates for nanoparticle synthesis due to their extreme versatility to synthesize diverse nanoparticles with varying size and shape. In the present study, an eco favorable method for the biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles using marine bacterial isolate has been attempted. Very interestingly, molecular identification proved it as a strain of Ochrobactrum anhtropi. In addition, the isolate was found to have the potential to form silver nanoparticles intracellularly at room temperature within 24 h. The biosynthesized silver nanoparticles were characterized by UV-Vis spectroscopy, transmission electron microscope (TEM) and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The UV-visible spectrum of the aqueous medium containing silver nanoparticles showed a peak at 450 nm corresponding to the plasmon absorbance of silver nanoparticles. The SEM and TEM micrographs revealed that the synthesized silver nanoparticles were spherical in shape with a size range from 38 nm – 85 nm. The silver nanoparticles synthesized by the isolate were also used to explore its antibacterial potential against pathogens like Salmonella Typhi, Salmonella Paratyphi, Vibrio cholerae and Staphylococcus aureus.
PMCID: PMC4323294  PMID: 25763025
biosynthesis; silver nanoparticles; Ochrobactrum anhtropi; purification; antibacterial activity
21.  Synthesis and optimization of chitosan nanoparticles: Potential applications in nanomedicine and biomedical engineering 
Background: Chitosan nanoparticles have become of great interest for nanomedicine, biomedical engineering and development of new therapeutic drug release systems with improved bioavailability, increased specificity and sensitivity, and reduced pharmacological toxicity. The aim of the present study was to synthesis and optimize of the chitosan nanoparticles for industrial and biomedical applications.
Methods: Fe3O4 was synthesized and optimized as magnetic core nanoparticles and then chitosan covered this magnetic core. The size and morphology of the nano-magnetic chitosan was analyzed by scanning electron microscope (SEM). Topography and size distribution of the nanoparticles were shown with two-dimensional and three-dimensional images of atomic force microscopy (AFM). The nanoparticles were analyzed using transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
Results: The chitosan nanoparticles prepared in the experiment exhibited white powder shape. The SEM micrographs of the nano-magnetic chitosan showed that they were approximately uniform spheres. The unmodified chitosan nanoparticles composed of clusters of nanoparticles with sizes ranging from 10 nm to 80 nm. AFM provides a three-dimensional surface profile. The TEM image showed physical aggregation of the chitosan nanoparticles.
Conclusion: The results show that a novel chitosan nanoparticle was successfully synthesized and characterized. It seems that this nanoparticle like the other chitosan nano particles has potential applications for nanomedicine, biomedical engineering, industrial and pharmaceutical fields.
PMCID: PMC4143737  PMID: 25202443
Nanomedicine; Nanoparticle; Chitosan; Biomedical engineering.
22.  The preparation and characterization of folate-conjugated human serum albumin magnetic cisplatin nanoparticles☆ 
Journal of Biomedical Research  2010;24(1):26-32.
Nanoparticles are becoming an important method of targeted drug delivery. To evaluate the importance of folate-conjugated human serum albumin (HSA) magnetic nanoparticles (Folate-CDDP/HSA MNP), we prepared drug-loaded Folate-CDDP/HSA MNPs and characterized their features.
First, folate was conjugated with HSA under the effect of a condensing agent, and the conjugating rate was evaluated by a colorimetric method using 2, 4, 6 - trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid. Second, under N2 gas, Fe3O4 magnetic nanomaterials were prepared and characterized by using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), SEM-EDS and X-ray diffraction (XRD). Finally, Folate-CDDP/HSA MNP was prepared by using a solvent evaporation technique. TEM was used to observe particle morphology. The particle size and distribution of the prepared complexes were determined by a Laser particle size analyzer. Drug loading volume and drug release were investigated by a high performance liquid chromatography method (HPLC) in vitro.
We successfully prepared folate-conjugated HSA and its conjugating rate was 27.26 µg/mg. Under TEM, Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles were highly electron density and had an even size distribution in the range of 10-20 nm. It was confirmed by SEM-EDS and XRD that Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles had been successfully prepared. Under TEM, drug-loaded magnetic nanoparticles were observed, which had a round shape, similar uniform size and smooth surface. Their average size was 79 nm which was determined by laser scattering, and they exhibited magnetic responsiveness. Encapsulation efficiency was 89.75% and effective drug loading was calculated to be 15.25%. The release results in vitro showed that the half release time (t½) of cisplatin in cisplatin Solution and Folate-CDDP/HSA MNP was 65 min and 24 h respectively, which indicated that microspheres had an obvious effect of sustained-release.
Folate-CDDP/HSA MNPs were prepared successfully. The preparation process and related characteristics data provided a foundation for further study, including the mechanism of the nanoparticles distribution in vivo and their intake by tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC3596532  PMID: 23554608
cisplatin; folate; albumin magnetic nanoparticles; conjugate
23.  Tailored Magnetic Nanoparticles for Optimizing Magnetic Fluid Hyperthermia 
Magnetic Fluid Hyperthermia (MFH) is a promising approach towards adjuvant cancer therapy that is based on the localized heating of tumors using the relaxation losses of iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) in alternating magnetic fields (AMF). In this study, we demonstrate optimization of MFH by tailoring MNP size to an applied AMF frequency. Unlike conventional aqueous synthesis routes, we use organic synthesis routes that offer precise control over MNP size (diameter ~ 10–25 nm), size distribution and phase purity. Furthermore, the particles are successfully transferred to the aqueous phase using a biocompatible amphiphilic polymer, and demonstrate long-term shelf life. A rigorous characterization protocol ensures that the water-stable MNPs meet all the critical requirements: (1) uniform shape and monodispersity, (2) phase purity, (3) stable magnetic properties approaching that of the bulk, (4) colloidal stability, (5) substantial shelf life and (6) pose no significant in vitro toxicity. Using a dedicated hyperthermia system, we then identified that 16 nm monodisperse MNPs (σ ~ 0.175) respond optimally to our chosen AMF conditions (f = 373 kHz, Ho = 14 kA/m); however, with a broader size distribution (σ ~ 0.284) the Specific Loss Power (SLP) decreases by 30%. Finally, we show that these tailored MNPs demonstrate maximum hyperthermia efficiency by reducing viability of Jurkat cells in vitro, suggesting our optimization translates truthfully to cell populations. In summary, we present a way to intrinsically optimize MFH by tailoring the MNPs to any applied AMF, a required precursor to optimize dose and time of treatment.
PMCID: PMC3266447  PMID: 22213652
Magnetic Fluid Hyperthermia; in vitro hyperthermia; monodisperse iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles; cytotoxicity
24.  In vitro and in vivo studies on gelatin-siloxane nanoparticles conjugated with SynB peptide to increase drug delivery to the brain 
Nanobiotechnology can provide more efficient tools for diagnosis, targeted and personalized therapy, and increase the chances of brain tumor treatment being successful. Use of nanoparticles is a promising strategy for overcoming the blood–brain barrier and delivering drugs to the brain. Gelatin-siloxane (GS) nanoparticles modified with Tat peptide can enhance plasmid DNA transfection efficiency compared with a commercial reagent.
SynB-PEG-GS nanoparticles are membrane-penetrable, and can cross the blood–brain barrier and deliver a drug to its target site in the brain. The efficiency of delivery was investigated in vivo and in vitro using brain capillary endothelial cells, a cocultured blood–brain barrier model, and a normal mouse model.
Our study demonstrated that both SynB-PEG-GS and PEG-GS nanoparticles had a spherical shape and an average diameter of 150–200 nm. It was shown by MTT assay that SynB-PEG-GS nanoparticles had good biocompatibility with brain capillary endothelial cells. Cellular uptake by SynB-PEG-GS nanoparticles was higher than that for PEG-GS nanoparticles for all incubation periods. The amount of SynB-PEG-GS nanoparticles crossing the cocultured blood–brain barrier model was significantly higher than that of PEG-GS nanoparticles at all time points measured (P < 0.05). In animal testing, SynB-PEG-GS nanoparticle levels in the brain were significantly higher than those of PEG-GS nanoparticles at all time points measured (P < 0.01). In contrast with localization in the brain, PEG-GS nanoparticle levels were significantly higher than those of SynB-PEG-GS nanoparticles (P < 0.01) in the liver.
This study indicates that SynB-PEG-GS nanoparticles have favorable properties with regard to morphology, size distribution, and toxicity. Moreover, the SynB-PEG-GS nanoparticles exhibited more efficient brain capillary endothelial cell uptake and improved crossing of the blood–brain barrier. Further, biodistribution studies of rhodamine-loaded nanoparticles demonstrated that modification with the SynB peptide could not only improve the ability of PEG-GS nanoparticles to evade capture in the reticuloendothelial system but also enhance their efficiency in crossing the blood–brain barrier.
PMCID: PMC3292416  PMID: 22403486
nanoparticles; peptide; blood-brain barrier; brain targeting delivery
25.  Albumin-based Nanoconjugates for Targeted Delivery of Therapeutic Oligonucleotides 
Biomaterials  2013;34(32):10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.06.066.
Nanoparticle-based delivery has become an important strategy to advance siRNA and antisense oligonucleotides into clinical reality. However, limited biodistribution of nanoparticles and the toxicity of some nanocarriers restrict the wider application of this strategy. To address these issues we aimed to construct oligonucleotide delivery systems which are non-cytotoxic and smaller than typical nanoparticles. Thus, a morpholino oligonucleotide was conjugated to a tumor-targeting RGD peptide, and then, multiple RGD-oligo conjugates were linked to a single molecule of human serum albumin via a reductively responsive linkage. The resultant nanoconjugates showed uniform and monodispersed size distribution with a diameter of 13 nm. A single nanoconjugate molecule contains 15 oligonucleotides as well as 15 targeting ligands on the surface of albumin. The nanoparticle demonstrated 61-fold enhancement in receptor-specific cellular delivery of oligonucleotides in integrin-expressing tumor cells compared to the non-targeted control nanoconjugates and were able to robustly enhance functional activity of the oligonucleotide at low nanomolar concentrations without causing cytotoxicity. Due to their small size, the targeted nanoconjugates could penetrate deeply and distribute throughout 3-D tumor spheroids, whereas the conventional nanoparticles with sizes over 300 nm could only deliver to the cells on the surface of the tumor spheroids. As a result of their greater cellular delivery, smaller size, and lack of cytotoxicity compared to conventional nanoparticles, the multivalent nanoconjugates may provide an effective tool for targeting oligonucleotides to tumors and other diseased tissues.
PMCID: PMC3810404  PMID: 23876758
Targeted delivery; Therapeutic Oligonucleotides; Albumin; Conjugation

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