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Polymeric micelles based on poly(ethylene glycol) block poly(racemic amino acids) hybrid polypeptides: conformation-facilitated drug-loading behavior and potential application as effective anticancer drug carriers

Authors Gu PF, Xu H, Sui BW, Gou JX, Meng LK, Sun F, Wang XJ, Qi N, Zhang Y, He HB, Tang X

Received 21 October 2011

Accepted for publication 13 November 2011

Published 5 January 2012 Volume 2012:7 Pages 109—122

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S27475

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Peng Fei Gu1, Hui Xu1, Bo Wen Sui2, Jing Xin Gou1, Ling Kuo Meng1, Feng Sun1, Xiu Jun Wang1, Na Qi1, Yu Zhang1, Hai Bing He1, Xing Tang1
1Department of Pharmaceutics, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang, 2School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Jilin University, Changchun, People's Republic of China

Abstract: In this work, racemic hybrid polypeptides poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)-b-poly(racemic-leucine) (PRL) copolymers with different leucine residues have been synthesized and characterized. Using docetaxel as a model molecule, the high drug-loaded spherical micelles based on PEG-PRL were prepared successfully using dialysis, with a tunable particle size from 170 nm to 250 nm obtained by changing the length of the hydrophobic blocks. Facilitated drug-loading behavior (higher drug-loading ability and easier drug-loading process) of PEG-PRL compared with their corresponding levo forms (PEG-b-poly[levo leucine]) was observed and clarified for the first time. With this facilitation, the highest drug-loading content and efficiency of PEG-PRL micelles can achieve 11.2% ± 0.4% and 67.2% ± 2.4%, respectively. All drug-loaded PEG-PRL micelles exhibit a similar release behavior with a sustained release up to 72 hours. The PEG-PRL was shown to be nontoxic against MCF-7 and human umbilical vein endothelial cells up to a concentration of 100 µg/mL, displaying a good biocompatibility. Also, the docetaxel-loaded PEG-PRL micelles were more toxic than the free drug against MCF-7 human breast cancer cells – both dose and time dependent. Therefore, these high docetaxel-loaded micelles based on racemic hybrid polypeptides appear to be a novel promising nanomedicine for anticancer therapy.

Keywords: racemic polypeptides, micelles, conformation, high drug-loading ability, anticancer nanomedicine

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