Pemetrexed conjugated with gold nanoparticles – Synthesis, characterization and a study of noncovalent interactions

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Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have been widely used as nanocarriers in drug delivery application. However, the binding mechanism between AuNPs and drug bases still remains a puzzle. Our study included: (i) optimization of three synthesis of the AuNPs-pemetrexed (PE) nanocomposites formation which was monitored by UV–Vis spectroscopy, (ii) identification of PE in gold nanocomposites and mechanism of PE interaction with gold nanoparticles by electrochemistry, NMR and Raman measurements, (iii) characterization of the three nanocomposites by TEM, DSL, ESL, zeta potential, XRPD and TGA analysis. The obtained nanocomposites are homogeneously shaped and have a maximum diameter of around 14 nm and 88 nm, as measured by the TEM and DSL techniques, respectively. The zeta potential of the nanocomposites is −43 mV and suggests a high stability of the nanoparticles and lower toxicity for the normal cells. Quantum chemical calculations were also performed on model systems to estimate the strength of the AuNPs-PE interaction. Taking into account the experimental and theoretical data a mechanism of the nanocomposites' formation has been proposed in which PE interacts with the gold surface by the COOH/COO– group.

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