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In vitro toxicity studies of biodegradable, polyelectrolyte nanocapsules

Authors Karabasz A, Szczepanowicz K, Cierniak A, Bereta J, Bzowska M

Received 24 March 2018

Accepted for publication 15 May 2018

Published 6 September 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 5159—5172

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S169120

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Thiruganesh Ramasamy

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Webster


Alicja Karabasz,1 Krzysztof Szczepanowicz,2 Agnieszka Cierniak,1,3 Joanna Bereta,1 Monika Bzowska1

1Department of Cell Biochemistry, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland; 2Jerzy Haber Institute of Catalysis and Surface Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków, Poland; 3Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Kraków University, Kraków, Poland

Background: Toxicity of nanomaterials is one of the most important factors limiting their medical application. Evaluation of in vitro nanotoxicity allows for the identification and elimination of most of the toxic materials prior to animal testing. The current knowledge of the possible side effects of biodegradable nanomaterials, such as liposomes and polymeric organic nanoparticles, is limited. Previously, we developed a potential drug delivery system in the form of nanocapsules with polyelectrolyte, biodegradable shells consisting of poly-L-lysine and poly-L-glutamic acid (PGA), formed by the layer-by-layer adsorption technique.
Methods: Hemolysis assay, viability tests, flow cytometry analysis of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 expression on endothelium, analysis of nitric oxide production, measurement of intracellular reactive oxygen species levels, detection of antioxidant enzyme activity, and analysis of DNA damage with comet assay were performed to study the in vitro toxicity of nanocapsules.
Results: In this work, we present the results of an in vitro analysis of toxicity of five-layer positively charged poly-L-lysine–terminated nanocapsules (NC5), six-layer negatively charged PGA-terminated nanocapsules (NC6) and five-layer PEGylated nanocapsules (NC5-PEG). PGA and polyethylene glycol (PEG) were used as two different “stealth” polymers. Of all the polyelectrolyte nanocapsules tested for blood compatibility, only cationic NC5 showed acute toxicity toward blood cells, expressed as hemolysis and aggregation. Neither NC6 nor NC5-PEG had proinflammatory activity evaluated through changes in the expression of NF-κB–dependent genes, iNOS and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, induced oxidative stress, or promoted DNA damage in various cells.
Conclusion: Our studies clearly indicate that PGA-coated (negatively charged) and PEGylated polyelectrolyte nanocapsules do not show in vitro toxicity, and their potential as a drug delivery system may be safely studied in vivo.

Keywords: polyelectrolyte nanocapsules, layer-by-layer, nanotoxicity, oxidative stress, genotoxicity

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