To evaluate the cytotoxicity of poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(D,L-lactic acid) (PEG-PDLLA) nanovesicles loaded with doxorubicin (DOX) and the photosensitizer hematoporphyrin monomethyl ether (HMME) on human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells and to investigate potential apoptotic mechanisms.
PEG-PDLLA nanovesicles were simultaneously loaded with DOX and HMME (PEG-PDLLA-DOX-HMME), and PEG-PDLLA nanovesicles were loaded with DOX (PEG-PDLLA-DOX), HMME (PEG-PDLLA-HMME), or the PEG-PDLLA nanovesicle alone as controls. The cytotoxicity of PEG-PDLLA-DOX-HMME, PEG-PDLLA-DOX, PEG-PDLLA-HMME, and PEG-PDLLA against HepG2 cells was measured, and the cellular reactive oxygen species, percentage of cells with mitochondrial membrane potential depolarization, and apoptotic rate following treatment were determined.
Four nanovesicles (PEG-PDLLA-DOX-HMME, PEG-PDLLA-DOX, PEG-PDLLA-HMME, and PEG-PDLLA) were synthesized, and mean particle sizes were 175±18 nm, 154±3 nm, 196±2 nm, and 147±15 nm, respectively. PEG-PDLLA-DOX-HMME was more cytotoxic than PEG-PDLLA-DOX, PEG-PDLLA-HMME, and PEG-PDLLA. PEG-PDLLA-HMME-treated cells had the highest mean fluorescence intensity, followed by PEG-PDLLA-DOX-HMME-treated cells, whereas PEG-PDLLA-DOX- and PEG-PDLLA-treated cells had a similar fluorescence intensity. Mitochondrial membrane potential depolarization was observed in 54.2%, 59.4%, 13.8%, and 14.8% of the cells treated with PEG-PDLLA-DOX-HMME, PEG-PDLLA-HMME, PEG-PDLLA-DOX, and PEG-PDLLA, respectively. The apoptotic rate was significantly higher in PEG-PDLLA-DOX-HMME-treated cells compared with PEG-PDLLA-DOX- and PEG-PDLLA-HMME-treated cells.
The PEG-PDLLA nanovesicle, a drug delivery carrier, can be simultaneously loaded with two anticancer drugs (hydrophilic DOX and hydrophobic HMME). PEG-PDLLA-DOX-HMME cytotoxicity to HepG2 cells is significantly higher than the PEG-PDLLA nanovesicle loaded with DOX or HMME alone, and DOX and HMME have a synergistic effect against human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells.