Folate receptor-targeted multimodal polymersomes for delivery of quantum dots and doxorubicin to breast adenocarcinoma:In vitroandin vivoevaluation


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Abstract

Graphical abstractHighlightsHydrophobic DOX and hydrophilic MSA-capped QD were encapsulated in the bilayer and core of the PEG-PLGA nanopolymersomes, respectively.To achieve active cancer targeting in vitro and in vivo, QD and DOX-encapsulated nanopolymersomes were conjugated with folate for folate-binding protein receptor-guided delivery.In vivo experiments illustrated a high potential of the prepared targeted theranostic nanoplatform in the treatment and imaging of breast cancer.In this study, we report the design and delivery of tumor-targeted, quantum dot (QD) and doxorubicin (DOX)-encapsulated PEG-PLGA nanopolymersomes (NPs) for the imaging and chemotherapy of breast cancer. To achieve active cancer targeting, QD and DOX-encapsulated NPs were conjugated with folate for folate-binding protein receptor-guided delivery, which overexpressed in many cancer cells. Hydrophobic DOX and hydrophilic MSA-capped QD were encapsulated in the bilayer and core of the PEG-PLGA nanopolymersomes, respectively.The data show that the formulated NPs sustained DOX release for a period of 12 days. Fluorescence microscopy and MTT assay demonstrated that the developed folate-targeted DOX-QD NPs had higher cytotoxicity than non-targeted NPs and the free form of the drug; moreover, they preferentially accumulated in 4T1 and MCF-7 cells in vitro.In vivo experiments including whole organ tissue–homogenate analysis and organ fluorescence microscopy imaging of BALB/c mice bearing 4T1 breast adenocarcinoma showed that the folate receptor-targeted QD encapsulated NPs accumulate at tumor sites 6 h following intravenous injection. Acute toxicity studies of the prepared targeted QD-loaded NPs showed no evidence of long-term harmful histopathological and physiological effects on the treated animals. The in vivo tumor inhibitory effect of folic acid (FA)-QD-DOX NPs demonstrated an augmented therapeutic efficacy of targeted formulation over the non-targeted and free drug. The data obtained illustrate a high potential of the prepared targeted theranostic nanoplatform in the treatment and imaging of breast cancer. This study may open new directions for preparation of QD-based theranostic polymersomes for clinical application.

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