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Nanotechnology. 2011 Jan 21;22(3):035101. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/22/3/035101. Epub 2010 Dec 9.

Surface functionalization of PLGA nanoparticles by non-covalent insertion of a homo-bifunctional spacer for active targeting in cancer therapy.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX 76107, USA.


This work reports the surface functionalization of polymeric PLGA nanoparticles by non-covalent insertion of a homo-bifunctional chemical crosslinker, bis(sulfosuccinimidyl) suberate (BS3) for targeted cancer therapy. We dissolved BS3 in aqueous solution of PVA during formulation of nanoparticles by a modified solid/oil/water emulsion solvent evaporation method. The non-covalent insertion of BS3 was confirmed by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Curcumin and annexin A2 were used as a model drug and a cell specific target, respectively. Nanoparticles were characterized for particle size, zeta potential and surface morphology. The qualitative assessment of antibody attachment was performed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) as well as confocal microscopy. The optimized formulation showed antibody attachment of 86%. However, antibody attachment was abolished upon blocking the functional groups of BS3. The availability of functional antibodies was evaluated by the presence of a light chain fraction after gel electrophoresis. We further evaluated the in vitro release kinetics of curcumin from antibody coated and uncoated nanoparticles. The release of curcumin is enhanced upon antibody attachment and followed an anomalous release pattern. We also observed that the cellular uptake of nanoparticles was significantly higher in annexin A2 positive cells than in negative cells. Therefore, these results demonstrate the potential use of this method for functionalization as well as to deliver chemotherapeutic agents for treating cancer.

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