Dual functional nano-formulation can degrade in endosome due to low pH, released agmatine and siSAMDC can inhibit two critical pathways in polyamines biosynthesis respectively, inducing inhibition of tumor proliferation.
Polyamine content, which is associated with tumor growth, can be regulated by ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) and S-adenosyl methionine decarboxylase (SAMDC), two key enzymes in polyamine biosynthesis. Here we aim to develop a pH-responsive cationic poly(agmatine) based on a polyamine analogue–agmatine that can dually function as a gene delivery vector as well as an anticancer agent by inhibiting ODC after intracellular degradation. The core-shell nanoparticles, formed by poly(agmatine)/SAMDC siRNA complex as a core, were coated with bovine serum albumin for better in vivo circulation stability and tumor targeting. When the nanoparticles were taken up by tumor cells via endocytosis and degraded in endosome, the released agmatine and SAMDC siRNA can synergistically inhibit polyamines biosynthesis, inducing inhibition of tumor proliferation. Our study offered a potential way in tumor therapy based on polyamine metabolism.