A novel high drug loading mussel-inspired polydopamine hybrid nanoparticle as a pH-sensitive vehicle for drug delivery

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A novel high drug loading pH-cleavable polymer hybrid nanoparticle was prepared via doxorubicin (DOX) grafted onto PEGylated, mussel-inspired polydopamine (PDA) and then coated onto hollow silica nanoparticles for drug delivery. A series of characterization shed light on the formation mechanisms of PDA coatings on hollow silica. We hypothesized that dopamine was first absorbed onto the surface of hollow silica and then began self-polymerization. A Dox-containing thiol moiety was fabricated with conjugation between doxorubicin hydrochloride and Mercaptopropionyalkali with a pH-cleavable hydrozone bond. Using a Michael addition reaction, several Dox-containing thiol moieties were grafted onto the surface of the PDA. The drug loading capacity can reach 35.43%. It can minimize the metabolic problem of silica. The released behavior of Dox can be significantly enhanced at endosomal pH compared to physiological pH. After folate modification, nanoparticles can lead to more cellular endocytosis. Meanwhile animal assays showed that more Dox accumulated in tumor tissue, which can enhanced the cytotoxicity to 4T1 cancer cells with a targeting group compared to free DOX and untargeted groups. Meanwhile, the tumor growth was significantly inhibited. This promising material shows a promising future as a drug delivery system.

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