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Development of high drug-loading nanomicelles targeting steroids to the brain

Authors Zheng S, Xie Y, Li Y, Li L, Tian N, Zhu W, Yan G, Wu C, Hu H

Received 6 August 2013

Accepted for publication 21 September 2013

Published 18 December 2013 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 55—66


Checked for plagiarism Yes

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Peer reviewer comments 3

Sijia Zheng,1,* Yanqi Xie,1,* Yuan Li,1 Ling Li,1 Ning Tian,1 Wenbo Zhu,2 Guangmei Yan,2 Chuanbin Wu,1 Haiyan Hu1

1School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2Department of Pharmacology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: The objective of this research was to develop and evaluate high drug-loading ligand-modified nanomicelles to deliver a steroidal compound to the brain. YC1 (5α-cholestane-24-methylene-3β, 5α, 6β, 19-tetraol), with poor solubility and limited access to the brain, for the first time, has been proved to be an effective neuroprotective steroid by our previous studies. Based on the principle of ‘like dissolves like’, cholesterol, which shares the same steroidal parent nucleus with YC1, was selected to react with sodium alginate, producing amphiphilic sodium alginate–cholesterol derivatives (SACDs). To increase the grafting ratio and drug loading, cholesterol was converted to cholesteryl chloroformate, for the first time, before reacting with sodium alginate. Further, lactoferrin was conjugated on SACDs to provide lactoferrin-SACDs (Lf-SACD), which was established by immune electron microscopy (IEM) and self-assembled into brain-targeting nanomicelles. These nanomicelles were negatively charged and spherical in nature, with an average size of <200 nm. The YC1 drug loading was increased due to the cholesteryl inner cores of the nanomicelles, and the higher the grafting ratio was, the lower the critical micelle concentration (CMC) value of SACD, and the higher drug loading. The in vitro drug release, studied by bulk-equilibrium dialysis in 20 mL of 6% hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin solution at 37°C, indicated a prolonged release profile. The YC1 concentration in mouse brain delivered by lactoferrin-modified nanomicelles was higher than in those delivered by non-modified nanomicelles and YC1 solution. The unique brain-targeting nanomicelle system may provide a promising carrier to deliver hydrophobic drugs across the blood–brain barrier for the treatment of brain diseases.

Keywords: drug-loading, lactoferrin, nanomicelles, sodium alginate, cholesterol, brain-targeting

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