Development and optimization of methotrexate-loaded lipid-polymer hybrid nanoparticles for controlled drug delivery applications

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Lipid-polymer hybrid nanoparticles (LPHNPs) are emerging platforms for drug delivery applications. In the present study, methotrexate loaded LPHNPs consisted of PLGA and Lipoid S100 were fabricated by employing a single-step modified nanoprecipitation method combined with self-assembly. A three factor, three level Box Behnken design using Design-Expert® software was employed to access the influence of three independent variables on the particle size, drug entrapment and percent drug release. The optimized formulation was selected through numeric optimization approach. The results were supported with the ANOVA analysis, regression equations and response surface plots. Transmission electron microscope images indicated the nanosized and spherical shape of the LPHNPs with fair size distribution. The nanoparticles ranged from 176 to 308 nm, which increased with increased polymer concentration. The increase in polymer and lipid concentration also increased the drug entrapment efficiency. The in vitro drug release was in range 70.34–91.95% and the release mechanism follow the Higuchi model (R2 = 0.9888) and Fickian diffusion (n < 0.5). The in vitro cytotoxicity assay and confocal microscopy of the optimized formulation demonstrate the good safety and better internalization of the LPHNPs. The cell antiproliferation showed the spatial and controlled action of the nanoformulation as compared to the plain drug solution. The results suggest that LPHNPs can be a promising delivery system envisioned to safe, stable and potentially controlled delivery of methotrexate to the cancer cells to achieve better therapeutic outcomes.

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