Novel dipeptide nanoparticles for effective curcumin delivery
Shadab Alam,* Jiban J Panda,* Virander S Chauhan
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi, India
*Both authors contributed equally to this work
Background: Curcumin, the principal curcuminoid of the popular Indian spice turmeric, has a wide spectrum of pharmaceutical properties such as antitumor, antioxidant, antiamyloid, and anti-inflammatory activity. However, poor aqueous solubility and low bioavailability of curcumin is a major challenge in its development as a useful drug. To enhance the aqueous solubility and bioavailability of curcumin, attempts have been made to encapsulate it in liposomes, polymeric nanoparticles (NPs), lipid-based NPs, biodegradable microspheres, cyclodextrin, and hydrogels.
Methods: In this work, we attempted to entrap curcumin in novel self-assembled dipeptide NPs containing a nonprotein amino acid, α,β-dehydrophenylalanine, and investigated the biological activity of dipeptide-curcumin NPs in cancer models both in vitro and in vivo.
Results: Of the several dehydrodipeptides tested, methionine-dehydrophenylalanine was the most suitable one for loading and release of curcumin. Loading of curcumin in the dipeptide NPs increased its solubility, improved cellular availability, enhanced its toxicity towards different cancerous cell lines, and enhanced curcumin’s efficacy towards inhibiting tumor growth in Balb/c mice bearing a B6F10 melanoma tumor.
Conclusion: These novel, highly biocompatible, and easy to construct dipeptide NPs with a capacity to load and release curcumin in a sustained manner significantly improved curcumin’s cellular uptake without altering its anticancer or other therapeutic properties. Curcumin-dipeptide NPs also showed improved in vitro and in vivo chemotherapeutic efficacy compared to curcumin alone. Such dipeptide-NPs may also improve the delivery of other potent hydrophobic drug molecules that show poor cellular uptake, bioavailability, and efficacy.
Keywords: anticancer, curcumin, dipeptide, hydrophobic, nanoparticle, self-assembly
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