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Light-triggered liposomal cargo delivery platform incorporating photosensitizers and gold nanoparticles for enhanced singlet oxygen generation and increased cytotoxicity

Authors Kautzka Z, Clement S, Goldys EM, Deng W

Received 3 November 2016

Accepted for publication 4 January 2017

Published 2 February 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 969—977

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S126553

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lakshmi Kiran Chelluri

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas J. Webster

Zofia Kautzka, Sandhya Clement, Ewa M Goldys, Wei Deng

Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, Macquarie University, North Ryde, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Abstract: We developed light-triggered liposomes incorporating 3–5 nm hydrophobic gold nanoparticles and Rose Bengal (RB), a well-known photosensitizer used for photodynamic therapy. Singlet oxygen generated by these liposomes with 532 nm light illumination was characterized for varying the molar ratio of lipids and gold nanoparticles while keeping the amount of RB constant. Gold nanoparticles were found to enhance the singlet oxygen generation rate, with a maximum enhancement factor of 1.75 obtained for the molar ratio of hydrogenated soy l-α-phosphatidylcholine:1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine-N-(hexanoylamine):gold of 57:5:17 compared with liposomes loaded with RB alone. The experimental results could be explained by the local electric field enhancement caused by gold nanoparticles. We further assessed cellular cytotoxicity of gold-loaded liposomes by encapsulating an antitumor drug, doxorubicin (Dox); such Dox-loaded liposomes were applied to human colorectal cancer cells (HCT116) and exposed to light. Gold-loaded liposomes containing RB and Dox where Dox release was triggered by light were found to exhibit higher cytotoxicity compared with the liposomes loaded with RB and Dox alone. Our results indicate that gold-loaded liposomes incorporating photosensitizers may serve as improved agents in photodynamic therapy and chemotherapy.

Keywords: liposomes, Rose Bengal, gold nanoparticles, singlet oxygen generation, photodynamic therapy

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