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Biomacromolecules. 2017 Apr 10;18(4):1108-1126. doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.6b01670. Epub 2017 Mar 15.

Endosome Targeting meso-Tetraphenylchlorin-Chitosan Nanoconjugates for Photochemical Internalization.

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Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland , Hofsvallagata 53, IS-107 Reykjavik, Iceland.
PCI Biotech AS , Ullernchauséen 64, N0379 Oslo, Norway.
Oslo University Hospital , The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Institute for Cancer Research, Department of Radiation Biology, Montebello, N-0310 Oslo, Norway.


Four amphiphilic covalently linked meso-tetraphenylchlorin-chitosan nanoconjugates were synthesized and evaluated for use in photochemical internalization (PCI) in vitro and in vivo. The synthetic protocol for the preparation of two different hydrophobic chlorin photosensitizers, 5-(4-aminophenyl)-10,15,20-triphenylchlorin and 5-(4-carboxyphenyl)-10,15,20-triphenylchlorin, was optimized. These monofunctional photosensitizers were covalently attached to carrier chitosan via silyl-protected 3,6-di-O-tert-butyldimethylsilyl-chitosan (Di-TBDMS-chitosan) with 0.10 degree of substitution per glucosamine (DS). Hydrophilic moieties such as trimethylamine and/or 1-methylpiperazine were incorporated with 0.9 DS to give fully water-soluble conjugates after removal of the TBDMS groups. A dynamic light scattering (DLS) study confirmed the formation of nanoparticles with a 140-200 nm diameter. These nanoconjugates could be activated at 650 nm (red region) light, with a fluorescence quantum yield (ΦF) of 0.43-0.45, and are thus suitable candidates for use in PCI. These nanoconjugates were taken up and localized in the endocytic vesicles of HCT116/LUC human colon carcinoma cells, and upon illumination they substantially enhanced plasmid DNA transfection. The nanoconjugates were also evaluated in preliminary in vivo experiments in tumor-bearing mice, showing that the nanoconjugates could induce a strong photodynamic therapy (PDT) and also PCI effects in treatment with bleomycin.

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