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Folate-conjugated boron nitride nanospheres for targeted delivery of anticancer drugs

Authors Feng S, Zhang H, Yan T, Huang D, Zhi C, Nakanishi H, Gao X

Received 16 April 2016

Accepted for publication 21 July 2016

Published 12 September 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 4573—4582


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Linlin Sun

Shini Feng,1 Huijie Zhang,1 Ting Yan,1 Dandi Huang,1 Chunyi Zhi,2 Hideki Nakanishi,1 Xiao-Dong Gao1

1Key Laboratory of Carbohydrate Chemistry and Biotechnology, Ministry of Education, School of Biotechnology, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Physics and Materials Science, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: With its unique physical and chemical properties and structural similarity to carbon, boron nitride (BN) has attracted considerable attention and found many applications. Biomedical applications of BN have recently started to emerge, raising great hopes in drug and gene delivery. Here, we developed a targeted anticancer drug delivery system based on folate-conjugated BN nanospheres (BNNS) with receptor-mediated targeting. Folic acid (FA) was successfully grafted onto BNNS via esterification reaction. In vitro cytotoxicity assay showed that BNNS-FA complexes were non-toxic to HeLa cells up to a concentration of 100 µg/mL. Then, doxorubicin hydrochloride (DOX), a commonly used anticancer drug, was loaded onto BNNS-FA complexes. BNNS-FA/DOX complexes were stable at pH 7.4 but effectively released DOX at pH 5.0, which exhibited a pH sensitive and sustained release pattern. BNNS-FA/DOX complexes could be recognized and specifically internalized by HeLa cells via FA receptor-mediated endocytosis. BNNS-FA/DOX complexes exhibited greater cytotoxicity to HeLa cells than free DOX and BNNS/DOX complexes due to the increased cellular uptake of DOX mediated by the FA receptor. Therefore, BNNS-FA complexes had strong potential for targeted cancer therapy.

Keywords: boron nitride nanospheres, folic acid, doxorubicin, targeted delivery, cancer therapy

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