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Biomaterials. 2013 Jun;34(19):4667-79. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.03.008. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

Doxorubicin delivery to 3D multicellular spheroids and tumors based on boronic acid-rich chitosan nanoparticles.

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Laboratory of Mesoscopic Chemistry and Department of Polymer Science & Engineering, College of Chemistry & Chemical Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, PR China.


Boronic acid-rich chitosan-poly(N-3-acrylamidophenylboronic acid) nanoparticles (CS-PAPBA NPs) with the tunable size were successfully prepared by polymerizing N-3-acrylamidophenylboronic acid in the presence of chitosan in an aqueous solution. The CS-PAPBA NPs were then functionalized by a tumor-penetrating peptide iRGD and loading doxorubicin (DOX). The interaction between boronic acid groups of hydrophobic PAPBA and the amino groups of hydrophilic chitosan inside the nanoparticles was examined by solid-state NMR measurement. The size and morphology of nanoparticles were characterized by dynamic light scattering and electron microscopy. The cellular uptake, tumor penetration, biodistribution and antitumor activity of the nanoparticles were evaluated by using three-dimensional (3-D) multicellular spheroids (MCs) as the in vitro model and H22 tumor-bearing mice as the in vivo model. It was found that the iRGD-conjugated nanoparticles significantly improved the efficiency of DOX penetration in MCs, compared with free DOX and non-conjugated nanoparticles, resulting in the efficient cell killing in the MCs. In vivo antitumor activity examination indicated that iRGD-conjugated CS-PAPBA nanoparticles promoted the accumulation of nanoparticles in tumor tissue and enhanced their penetration in tumor areas, both of which improved the efficiency of DOX-loaded nanoparticles in restraining tumor growth and prolonging the life time of H22 tumor-bearing mice.

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