Characteristics and cytotoxicity of folate-modified curcumin-loaded PLA-PEG micellar nano systems with various PLA:PEG ratios

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Targeting delivery system use natural drugs for tumor cells is an appealing platform help to reduce the side effects and enhance the therapeutic effects of the drug. In this study, we synthesized curcumin (Cur) loaded (D, L Poly lactic – Poly ethylenglycol) micelle (Cur/PLA-PEG) with the ratio of PLA/PEG of 3:1 2:1 1:1 1:2 and 1:3 (w/w) and another micelle modified by folate (Cur/PLA-PEG-Fol) for targeting cancer therapy. The PLA-PEG copolymer was synthesized by ring opening polymerization method. After loading onto the micelle, solubility of Cur increased from 0.38 to 0.73 mg ml−1. The average size of prepared Cur/PLA-PEG micelles was from 60 to 69 nm (corresponding to the ratio difference of PLA/PEG) and the drug encapsulating efficiency was from 48.8 to 91.3%. Compared with the Cur/PLA-PEG micelles, the size of Cur/PLA-PEG-Fol micelles were from 80 to 86 nm and showed better in vitro cellular uptake and cytotoxicity towards HepG2 cells. The cytotoxicity of the NPs however depends much on the PEG component. The results demonstrated that Folate-modified micelles could serve as a potential nano carrier to improve solubility, anti-cancer activity of Cur and targeting ability of the system.

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