Differential tumor cell targeting of anti-HER2 (Herceptin®) and anti-CD20 (Mabthera®) coupled nanoparticles

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Two types of antibody-labeled nanoparticles (mAb-NPs) were prepared with the aim to achieve specific tumor targeting. Anti-HER2 and anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies (mAb) were used as model ligands. Small poly(DL-lactic acid) nanoparticles (PLA NPs) with a mean size of about 170 nm were prepared by the salting out method. Thereafter, the coating of PLA NPs with mAbs was performed in two steps. First, thiol groups (–SH) were introduced on the surface of PLA-NPs by a two-step carbodiimide reaction. The number of –SH groups on the surface of NPs increased from 150 to 400 mmol-SH/mol PLA when cystamine concentrations of 25–1518 mol cystamine/mol PLA were used during the thiolation reaction. In the second step, covalent coupling of antibodies to thiolated NPs (NPs-SH) was obtained via a bifunctional cross-linker, m-maleimidobenzoyl-N-hydroxy-sulfosuccinimide ester (sulfo-MBS). For both mAbs anti-HER2 and anti-CD20, respectively, the number of –SH functions on the NPs had no influence on the amount of mAb coupled to the NPs. Approximately, 295 anti-HER2 and 557 anti-CD20 molecules, respectively, were covalently coupled per nanoparticle. The NPs size after the coupling reactions was about 250 nm. The specific interaction between tumor cells and mAb-NPs was determined by confocal microscopy using two cell lines: SKOV-3 human ovarian cancer cells (overexpressing HER2) and Daudi lymphoma cells (overexpressing CD20). The results showed the selective targeting of mAb-NPs to tumor cells overexpressing the specific antigen. While anti-CD20 labeled NPs (anti-CD20 NPs) bound to and remained at the cellular surface, anti-HER2 labeled NPs (anti-HER2 NPs) were efficiently internalized. The mAb-NPs represent a promising approach to improve the efficacy of NPs in active targeting for cancer therapy while the choice of the antibody-target system defines the fate of the mAb-NPs after their binding to the cells.

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