Hollow superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoshells as a hydrophobic anticancer drug carrier: Intracelluar pH-dependent drug release and enhanced cytotoxicity

Xiao Ming Zhu, Jing Yuan, Ken C F LEUNG, Siu Fung Lee, Kathy W.Y. Sham, Christopher H.K. Cheng, Doris W.T. Au, Gao Jun Teng, Anil T. Ahuja, Yi Xiang J. Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5744-5754
Number of pages11
JournalNanoscale
Volume4
Issue number18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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