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Biomacromolecules. 2012 Aug 13;13(8):2429-38. doi: 10.1021/bm3006819. Epub 2012 Jul 13.

Reduction-responsive disassemblable core-cross-linked micelles based on poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(N-2-hydroxypropyl methacrylamide)-lipoic acid conjugates for triggered intracellular anticancer drug release.

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  • 1Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, College of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Soochow University, Suzhou, People's Republic of China.

Abstract

Reduction-sensitive reversibly core-cross-linked micelles were developed based on poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(N-2-hydroxypropyl methacrylamide)-lipoic acid (PEG-b-PHPMA-LA) conjugates and investigated for triggered doxorubicin (DOX) release. Water-soluble PEG-b-PHPMA block copolymers were obtained with M(n,PEG) of 5.0 kg/mol and M(n,HPMA) varying from 1.7 and 4.1 to 7.0 kg/mol by reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization. The esterification of the hydroxyl groups in the PEG-b-PHPMA copolymers with lipoic acid (LA) gave amphiphilic PEG-b-PHPMA-LA conjugates with degrees of substitution (DS) of 71-86%, which formed monodispersed micelles with average sizes ranging from 85.3 to 142.5 nm, depending on PHPMA molecular weights, in phosphate buffer (PB, 10 mM, pH 7.4). These micelles were readily cross-linked with a catalytic amount of dithiothreitol (DTT). Notably, PEG-b-PHPMA(7.0k)-LA micelles displayed superior DOX loading content (21.3 wt %) and loading efficiency (90%). The in vitro release studies showed that only about 23.0% of DOX was released in 12 h from cross-linked micelles at 37 °C at a low micelle concentration of 40 μg/mL, whereas about 87.0% of DOX was released in the presence of 10 mM DTT under otherwise the same conditions. MTT assays showed that DOX-loaded core-cross-linked PEG-b-PHPMA-LA micelles exhibited high antitumor activity in HeLa and HepG2 cells with low IC(50) (half inhibitory concentration) of 6.7 and 12.8 μg DOX equiv/mL, respectively, following 48 h incubation, while blank micelles were practically nontoxic up to a tested concentration of 1.0 mg/mL. Confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) studies showed that DOX-loaded core-cross-linked micelles released DOX into the cell nuclei of HeLa cells in 12 h. These reduction-sensitive disassemblable core-cross-linked micelles with excellent biocompatibility, superior drug loading, high extracellular stability, and triggered intracellular drug release are promising for tumor-targeted anticancer drug delivery.

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