pH-Responsive hyaluronated liposomes for docetaxel delivery

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In this study, we report pH-responsive liposomes consisting of hydrogenated soy phosphatidylcholine (HSPC) as a lipid, hyaluronic acid (HA) grafted with functional 3-diethylaminopropyl (DEAP) groups (hereafter denoted as HA-g-DEAP) as a pH-responsive polymer, and docetaxel (DTX) as an antitumor drug. DTX-loaded HSPC liposomes were prepared via a conventional liposome manufacturing procedure and then were decorated with HA-g-DEAP (HA-g-DEAP0.15, HA-g-DEAP0.25, and HA-g-DEAP0.40, according to the molar conjugate ratio of DEAP to HA) in an aqueous solution (pH 7.4), by sonication. The liposomes with HA-g-DEAP0.40 allowed the efficient release of the encapsulated DTX content when the pH of the solution decreased to 6.5 (i.e., endosomal pH), owing to the acidic pH-induced protonation of the DEAP anchored to the vesicular lipid bilayers. These hyaluronated liposomes were effective at entering the human colon carcinoma HCT-116 cells with a CD44 receptor overexpression. In an in vitro tumor cell cytotoxicity test, the DTX-loaded liposomes caused a significant increase in HCT-116 tumor cell death, revealing their pharmaceutical potential in tumor therapy.

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