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Pharmaceutics. 2019 Feb 2;11(2). pii: E65. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics11020065.

Methotrexate-Loaded Solid Lipid Nanoparticles: Protein Functionalization to Improve Brain Biodistribution.

Author information

1
Dipartimento di Scienza e Tecnologia del Farmaco, Università degli Studi di Torino, 10124 Torino, Italy. elisabetta.muntoni@unito.it.
2
Dipartimento di Scienza e Tecnologia del Farmaco, Università degli Studi di Torino, 10124 Torino, Italy. katia.martina@unito.it.
3
Dipartimento di Scienza e Tecnologia del Farmaco, Università degli Studi di Torino, 10124 Torino, Italy. elisabetta.marini@unito.it.
4
Dipartimento di Scienza e Tecnologia del Farmaco, Università degli Studi di Torino, 10124 Torino, Italy. marta.giorgis@unito.it.
5
Dipartimento di Scienza e Tecnologia del Farmaco, Università degli Studi di Torino, 10124 Torino, Italy. loretta.lazzarato@unito.it.
6
Dipartimento di Oncologia, Università degli Studi di Torino, 10043 Orbassano, Italy. irischiara.salaroglio@unito.it.
7
Dipartimento di Oncologia, Università degli Studi di Torino, 10043 Orbassano, Italy. chiara.riganti@unito.it.
8
Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Università degli Studi di Torino, 10126 Torino, Italy. michele.lanotte@unito.it.
9
Dipartimento di Scienza e Tecnologia del Farmaco, Università degli Studi di Torino, 10124 Torino, Italy. luigi.battaglia@unito.it.

Abstract

Glioblastoma is the most common and invasive primary tumor of the central nervous system and normally has a negative prognosis. Biodistribution in healthy animal models is an important preliminary study aimed at investigating the efficacy of chemotherapy, as it is mainly addressed towards residual cells after surgery in a region with an intact blood⁻brain barrier. Nanoparticles have emerged as versatile vectors that can overcome the blood⁻brain barrier. In this experimental work, solid lipid nanoparticles, prepared using fatty acid coacervation, have been loaded with an active lipophilic ester of cytotoxic drug methotrexate, and functionalized with either transferrin or insulin, two proteins whose receptors are abundantly expressed on the blood⁻brain barrier. Functionalization has been achieved by grafting a maleimide moiety onto the nanoparticle's surface and exploiting its reactivity towards thiolated proteins. The nanoparticles have been tested in vitro on a blood⁻brain barrier cellular model and in vivo for biodistribution in Wistar rats. Drug metabolites, in particular 7-hydroxymethotrexate, have also been investigated in the animal model. The data obtained indicate that the functionalization of the nanoparticles improved their ability to overcome the blood⁻brain barrier when a PEG spacer between the proteins and the nanoparticle's surface was used. This is probably because this method provided improved ligand⁻receptor interactions and selectivity for the target tissue.

KEYWORDS:

blood–brain barrier; insulin; methotrexate; solid lipid nanoparticles; transferrin

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