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Development and evaluation of vitamin E D-α-tocopheryl polyethylene glycol 1000 succinate-mixed polymeric phospholipid micelles of berberine as an anticancer nanopharmaceutical

Authors Shen R, Kim J, Yao M, Elbayoumi T

Received 29 December 2015

Accepted for publication 4 March 2016

Published 26 April 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 1687—1700


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Webster

Roger Shen,1 Jane J Kim,2 Mingyi Yao,2,3 Tamer A Elbayoumi2,3

1Department of Family Medicine, Northeastern Health Systems-Tahlequah City Hospital, Tahlequah, OK, USA; 2Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy-Glendale, Midwestern University, 3Nanomedicine Center of Excellence in Translational Nanomedicine, Midwestern University, Glendale, AZ, USA

Abstract: Berberine (Brb) is an active alkaloid occurring in various common plant species, with well-recognized potential for cancer therapy. Brb not only augments the efficacy of antineoplastic chemotherapy and radiotherapy but also exhibits direct antimitotic and proapoptotic actions, along with distinct antiangiogenic and antimetastatic activities in a variety of tumors. Despite its low systemic toxicity, several pharmaceutical challenges limit the application of Brb in cancer therapy (ie, extremely low solubility and permeability, very poor pharmacokinetics (PKs), and oral bioavailability). Among lipid-based nanocarriers investigated recently for Brb, stealth amphiphilic micelles of polymeric phospholipid conjugates were studied here as a promising strategy to improve Brb delivery to tumors. Specifically, physicochemically stable micelles made of 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine-N-[methoxy(polyethyleneglycol)-2000] (PEG-PE) mixed with D-α-tocopheryl polyethylene glycol 1000 succinate (TPGS) (PEG-succinate ester of vitamin E), in a 3:1 M ratio, increased Brb solubilization by 300%. Our PEG-PE/TPGS-mixed micelles firmly retained the incorporated Brb, displaying extended-release profile in simulated media, with up to 30-fold projected improvement in simulated PKs of Brb. Owing to the markedly better uptake of Brb-containing mixed micelles in vitro, our Brb-mixed micelles nanoformulation significantly amplified apoptosis and overall cytotoxic effectiveness against monolayer and spheroid cultures of human prostate carcinomas (16- to 18-fold lower half-maximal inhibitory concentration values in PC3 and LNPaC, respectively), compared to free Brb. Mixed PEG-PE/TPGS micelles represent a promising delivery platform for the sparingly soluble anticancer agent, Brb, encouraging further pharmaceutical development of this drug for cancer therapy.

Keywords: mixed micelles, polymer–phospholipid conjugates, vitamin E TPGS, berberine hydrochloride, apoptosis, prostatic adenocarcinoma

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