With curcumin and doxorubicin (DOX) base as model drugs, intracellular delivery of hydrophobic anticancer drugs by hollow structured superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanoshells (hydrodynamic diameter: 191.9 ± 2.6 nm) was studied in glioblastoma U-87 MG cells. SPIO nanoshell-based encapsulation provided a stable aqueous dispersion of the curcumin. After the SPIO nanoshells were internalized by U-87 MG cells, they localized at the acidic compartments of endosomes and lysosomes. In endosome/lysosome-mimicking buffers with a pH of 4.5-5.5, pH-dependent drug release was observed from curcumin or DOX loaded SPIO nanoshells (curcumin/SPIO or DOX/SPIO). Compared with the free drug, the intracellular curcumin content delivered via curcumin/SPIO was 30 fold higher. Increased intracellular drug content for DOX base delivered via DOX/SPIO was also confirmed, along with a fast intracellular DOX release that was attributed to its protonation in the acidic environment. DOX/SPIO enhanced caspase-3 activity by twofold compared with free DOX base. The concentration that induced 50% cytotoxic effect (CC50) was 0.05 ± 0.03 μg ml -1 for DOX/SPIO, while it was 0.13 ± 0.02 μg ml -1 for free DOX base. These results suggested SPIO nanoshells might be a promising intracellular carrier for hydrophobic anticancer drugs.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Materials Science(all)