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pH-sensitive Au–BSA–DOX–FA nanocomposites for combined CT imaging and targeted drug delivery

Authors Huang H, Yang D, Liu M, Wang X, Zhang Z, Zhou G, Liu W, Cao Y, Zhang WJ, Wang X

Received 20 November 2016

Accepted for publication 17 February 2017

Published 6 April 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 2829—2843

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S128270

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang


He Huang,1 Da-Peng Yang,2 Minghuan Liu,2 Xiangsheng Wang,1 Zhiyong Zhang,1 Guangdong Zhou,1 Wei Liu,1 Yilin Cao,1 Wen Jie Zhang,1 Xiansong Wang1

1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Shanghai Ninth People’s Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Tissue Engineering, National Tissue Engineering Center of China, Shanghai, 2College of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Quanzhou Normal University, Quanzhou, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: Albumin-based nanoparticles (NPs) as a drug delivery system have attracted much attention owing to their nontoxicity, non-immunogenicity, great stability and ability to bind to many therapeutic drugs. Herein, bovine serum albumin (BSA) was utilized as a template to prepare Au–BSA core/shell NPs. The outer layer BSA was subsequently conjugated with cis-aconityl doxorubicin (DOX) and folic acid (FA) to create Au–BSA–DOX–FA nanocomposites. A list of characterizations was undertaken to identify the successful conjugation of drug molecules and targeted agents. In vitro cytotoxicity using a cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay indicated that Au–BSA NPs did not display obvious cytotoxicity to MGC-803 and GES-1 cells in the concentration range of 0–100 µg/mL, which can therefore be used as a safe drug delivery carrier. Furthermore, compared with free DOX, Au–BSA–DOX–FA nanocomposites exhibited a pH-sensitive drug release ability and superior antitumor activity in a drug concentration-dependent manner. In vivo computed tomography (CT) imaging experiments showed that Au–BSA–DOX–FA nanocomposites could be used as an efficient and durable CT contrast agent for targeted CT imaging of the folate receptor (FR) overexpressed in cancer tissues. In vivo antitumor experiments demonstrated that Au–BSA–DOX–FA nanocomposites have selective antitumor activity effects on FR-overexpressing tumors and no adverse effects on normal tissues and organs. In conclusion, the Au–BSA–DOX–FA nanocomposite exhibits selective targeting activity, X-ray attenuation activity and pH-sensitive drug release activity. Therefore, it can enhance CT imaging and improve the targeting therapeutic efficacy of FR-overexpressing gastric cancers. Our findings suggest that Au–BSA–DOX–FA nanocomposite is a novel drug delivery carrier and a promising candidate for cancer theranostic applications.

Keywords: gold nanoparticles, bovine serum albumin, CT imaging, drug delivery, theranostics

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