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Transactivator of transcription (TAT) peptide–chitosan functionalized multiwalled carbon nanotubes as a potential drug delivery vehicle for cancer therapy

Authors Dong X, Liu L, Zhu D, Zhang H, Leng X

Received 28 January 2015

Accepted for publication 21 April 2015

Published 3 June 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 3829—3841

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S81762

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang

Xia Dong, Lanxia Liu, Dunwan Zhu, Hailing Zhang, Xigang Leng

Laboratory of Bioengineering, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Biomedical Materials, Tianjin, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: Carbon nanotube (CNT)-based drug delivery vehicles might find great potential in cancer therapy via the combination of chemotherapy with photothermal therapy due to the strong optical absorbance of CNTs in the near-infrared region. However, the application of CNTs in cancer therapy was considerably constrained by their lack of solubility in aqueous medium, as well as the cytotoxicity caused by their hydrophobic surface. Intracellular delivery efficiency is another factor determining the application potential of CNTs in cancer therapy. In the present study, low-molecular-weight chitosan conjugated with transactivator of transcription (TAT) peptide was used for noncovalent functionalization of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), aiming at providing a more efficient drug delivery vehicle for cancer therapy. The TAT–chitosan-conjugated MWCNTs (MWCNTs-TC) were further investigated for their water solubility, cytotoxicity, cell-penetrating capability, and accumulation in tumor. It was found that MWCNTs-TC were essentially nontoxic with satisfying water solubility, and they were more efficient in terms of cancer-targeted intracellular transport both in vitro and in vivo as compared with chitosan-modified MWCNTs (MWCNTs-CS), suggesting the great application potential of MWCNTs-TC in cancer therapy.

Keywords: carbon nanotube, TAT, chitosan, drug delivery

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