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J Control Release. 2006 Sep 28;115(1):37-45. Epub 2006 Jul 20.

N-acetyl histidine-conjugated glycol chitosan self-assembled nanoparticles for intracytoplasmic delivery of drugs: endocytosis, exocytosis and drug release.

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  • 1Asan Institute for Life Sciences, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 388-1 Pungnap-2dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul 138-736, Korea.


Nano-sized vesicular systems (nanoparticles), ranging from 10 nm to 1000 nm in size, have potential applications as drug delivery systems. Successful clinical applications require the efficient intracellular delivery of drug-loaded nanoparticles. Here we describe N-acetyl histidine-conjugated glycol chitosan (NAcHis-GC) self-assembled nanoparticles as a promising system for intracytoplasmic delivery of drugs. Because N-acetyl histidine (NAcHis) is hydrophobic at neutral pH, the conjugates formed self-assembled nanoparticles with mean diameters of 150-250 nm. In slightly acidic environments, such as those in endosomes, the nanoparticles were disassembled due to breakdown of the hydrophilic/hydrophobic balance by the protonation of the imidazole group of NAcHis. Cellular internalization and drug release of the pH-sensitive self-assembled nanoparticles were investigated by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. NAcHis-GC nanoparticles internalized by adsorptive endocytosis were exocytosed or localized in endosomes. The amount of exocytosed nanoparticles was dependent on the pre-incubation time prior to removal of free nanoparticles from the culture media. Flow cytometry and confocal microscopy showed that NAcHis-GC nanoparticles released drugs into the cytosol and cell cycle analysis demonstrated that paclitaxel-incorporated NAcHis-GC nanoparticles were effective in inducing arrest of cell growth.

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