pH/redox dual-sensitive dextran nanogels for enhanced intracellular drug delivery

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pH/redox dual-responsive nanogels (DEX-SS) were prepared by precipitation polymerization of methacrylated dextran (DEXMA), 2-aminoethylmethacrylate (AEMA) and N,N′-bis(acryloyl)cystamine (BAC), and then loaded with methotrexate (MTX). Nanogels were spherical and exhibited homogeneous size distribution (460 nm, PDI < 0.30) as observed using dynamic light scattering (DLS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). DEX-SS were sensitive to the variations of pH and redox environment. Nanogels incubated in buffer pH 5.0 containing 10 mM glutathione (GSH) synergistically increased the mean diameter and the PDI to 750 nm and 0.42, respectively. In vitro release experiments were performed at pH 7.4 and 5.0 with and without GSH. The cumulative release of MTX in pH 5.0 medium with 10 mM GSH was 5-fold higher than that recorded at pH 7.4 without GSH. Fibroblasts and tumor cells were used to tests the effects of blank DEX-SS and MTX@DEX-SS nanogels on cell viability. Remarkable influence of pH on nanogels internalization into HeLa cells was evidenced by means of confocal microscopy and flow cytometry.

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