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Delivery of vincristine sulfate-conjugated gold nanoparticles using liposomes: a light-responsive nanocarrier with enhanced antitumor efficiency

Authors Liu Y, He M, Niu M, Zhao Y, Zhu Y, Li Z, Feng N

Received 18 December 2014

Accepted for publication 31 January 2015

Published 22 April 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 3081—3095


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Thomas J Webster

Ying Liu,1,* Man He,1,* Mengmeng Niu,1 Yiqing Zhao,1 Yuanzhang Zhu,1 Zhenhua Li,2 Nianping Feng1

1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 2Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Rapid drug release at the specific site of action is still a challenge for antitumor therapy. Development of stimuli-responsive hybrid nanocarriers provides a promising strategy to enhance therapeutic effects by combining the unique features of each component. The present study explored the use of drug–gold nanoparticle conjugates incorporated into liposomes to enhance antitumor efficiency. A model drug, vincristine sulfate, was physically conjugated with gold nanoparticles and verified by UV-visible and fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and differential scanning calorimetry. The conjugates were incorporated into liposomes by film dispersion to yield nanoparticles (113.4 nm) with light-responsive release properties, as shown by in vitro release studies. Intracellular uptake and distribution was studied in HeLa cells using transmission electron microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy. This demonstrated liposome internalization and localization in endosomal–lysosomal vesicles. Fluorescence intensity increased in cells exposed to UV light, indicating that this stimulated intracellular drug release; this finding was confirmed by quantitative analyses using flow cytometry. Antitumor efficacy was evaluated in HeLa cells, both in culture and in implants in vivo in nude mice. HeLa cell viability assays showed that light exposure enhanced liposome cytotoxicity and induction of apoptosis. Furthermore, treatment with the prepared liposomes coupled with UV light exposure produced greater antitumor effects in nude mice and reduced side effects, as compared with free vincristine sulfate.

Keywords: vincristine sulfate, vincristine sulfate–gold nanoparticle conjugates, liposomes, antitumor efficiency, light triggered drug release

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