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Biomacromolecules. 2013 Mar 11;14(3):841-53. doi: 10.1021/bm301894z. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

Polymer-coated echogenic lipid nanoparticles with dual release triggers.

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Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND 58108, USA.


Although lipid nanoparticles are promising drug delivery vehicles, passive release of encapsulated contents at the target site is often slow. Herein, we report contents release from targeted, polymer-coated, echogenic lipid nanoparticles in the cell cytoplasm by redox trigger and simultaneously enhanced by diagnostic frequency ultrasound. The lipid nanoparticles were polymerized on the external leaflet using a disulfide cross-linker. In the presence of cytosolic concentrations of glutathione, the lipid nanoparticles released 76% of encapsulated contents. Plasma concentrations of glutathione failed to release the encapsulated contents. Application of 3 MHz ultrasound for 2 min simultaneously with the reducing agent enhanced the release to 96%. Folic acid conjugated, doxorubicin-loaded nanoparticles showed enhanced uptake and higher cytotoxicity in cancer cells overexpressing the folate receptor (compared to the control). With further developments, these lipid nanoparticles have the potential to be used as multimodal nanocarriers for simultaneous targeted drug delivery and ultrasound imaging.

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