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Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)-loaded nanoparticles of betulinic acid for improved treatment of hepatic cancer: characterization, in vitro and in vivo evaluations

Authors Kumar P, Singh AK, Raj V, Rai A, Keshari AK, Kumar D, Maity B, Prakash A, Maiti S, Saha S

Received 17 November 2017

Accepted for publication 23 December 2017

Published 16 February 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 975—990


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Webster

Pranesh Kumar,1 Ashok K Singh,1 Vinit Raj,1 Amit Rai,1 Amit K Keshari,1 Dinesh Kumar,2 Biswanath Maity,2 Anand Prakash,3 Sabyasachi Maiti,4 Sudipta Saha1

1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Vidya Vihar, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India; 2Centre of Biomedical Research, SGPGIMS Campus, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India; 3Department of Biotechnology, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Vidya Vihar, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India; 4Department of Pharmacy, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Amarkantak, Anuppur, Madhya Pradesh, India

Purpose: The application of betulinic acid (B), a potent antineoplastic agent, is limited due to poor bioavailability, short plasma half-life and inappropriate tissue distribution. Thus, we aimed to prepare novel 50:50 poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA)-loaded B nanoparticles (BNP) and to compare its anti-hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) activity with parent B.
Methods: BNP were synthesized and characterized using different methods such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM), fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometry and particle size analyses. Particle size of BNP was optimized through the application of the stabilizer, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). The anti-HCC response was evaluated through in vitro cell line study using Hep-G2 cells, confocal microscopy, in vivo oral pharmacokinetics and animal studies. Further, quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis was conducted to observe the changes in the expression of specific genes.
Results: Particle size of BNP was optimized through the application of the stabilizer, polyvinyl alcohol. Physicochemical characterization exhibited particle size of 257.1 nm with zeta potential -0.170 mV (optimized batch B, BNP). SEM and FTIR analyses of BNP showed that cylindrical particles of B converted to spherical particles in BNP and there were no interaction between B and used polymers. The release study of optimized BNP was highest (≥80%) than any other formulation. Later, in vitro cell culture analysis using Hep-G2 cells and confocal microscopy studies revealed that BNP had the highest inhibition and penetration properties than parent B. Oral pharmacokinetics studies using albino Wistar rats at single 100 mg dose again exhibited BNP had the higher 50% of plasma concentration (t1/2), a higher maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) and took longer to reach the maximum plasma concentration (Tmax) than parent B. Next, our in vivo study using nitrosodiethyl amine (NDEA)-induced HCC model documented BNP decreased in number of nodules, restored body weight, oxidative stress parameters, liver marker enzymes and histological architecture than parent B. Lastly, qRT-PCR studies further demonstrated that anti-HCC properties of BNP may be due to over expression of antiapoptotic caspases i.e., caspase 3 and 8.
Conclusion: The prepared BNP showed a better therapeutic response against HCC and could be attributed as future candidate molecule for HCC treatment.

Keywords: betulinic acid, PLGA-loaded nanoparticles, HepG2 cells, hepatocellular carcinoma, caspase-3 and -8

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