Synthesis and characterization of a multifunctional gold-doxorubicin nanoparticle system for pH triggered intracellular anticancer drug release

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A nanoparticle drug carrier system has been developed to alter the cellular uptake and chemotherapeutic performance of an available chemotherapeutic drug. The system comprises of a multifunctional gold nanoparticle based drug delivery system (Au-PEG-PAMAM-DOX) as a novel platform for intracellular delivery of doxorubicin (DOX). Spherical gold nanoparticles were synthesized by a gold chloride reduction, stabilized with thiolated polyethylene glycol (PEG) and then covalently coupled with a polyamidoamine (PAMAM) G4 dendrimer. Further, conjugation of an anti-cancer drug doxorubicin to the dendrimer via amide bond resulted in Au-PEG-PAMAM-DOX drug delivery system. Acellular drug release studies proved that DOX released from Au-PEG-PAMAM-DOX at physiological pH was negligible but it was significantly increased at a weak acidic milieu. The intracellular drug release was monitored with confocal laser scanning microscopy analysis. In vitro viability studies showed an increase in the associated doxorubicin cytotoxicity not attributed to carrier components indicating the efficiency of the doxorubicin was improved, upon conjugation to the nano system. As such it is postulated that the developed pH triggered multifunctional doxorubicin-gold nanoparticle system, could lead to a promising platform for intracellular delivery of variety of anticancer drugs.

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