Zein-Paclitaxel Prodrug Nanoparticles for Redox-Triggered Drug Delivery and Enhanced Therapeutic Efficiency

Heting Hou, Dong Zhang, Jiewen Lin, Yingying Zhang, Chengyong Li, Zhe Wang, Jiaoyan Ren, Maojin Yao, Ka Hing Wong*, Yi Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Prodrug, in which the inactive parent drug with good bioavailability is metabolized into an active drug in the body, is one of the main strategies to target the disease site to improve the drug efficiency and reduce the adverse effects of chemotherapy. Because of the good capability of chemical modification, zein, a plant derived protein, and drugs can be conjugated through environmentally sensitive links to form prodrugs capable of triggered drug release. In this study, a novel prodrug was synthesized using paclitaxel (PTX), zein, and a disulfide linker, and nanoparticles were formed by self-assembly of the prodrug. An effective in vitro triggered release, 80-90% in 5 min, of the prodrug based nanoparticles (zein-S-S-PTX-NP) was successfully approached. The cytotoxicity of zein-S-S-PTX-NP as well as the zein encapsulation of PTX (zein-PTX-NP) and pure PTX on HeLa cells and NIH/3T3 fibroblast cells was tested using MTS assay. It showed that, after the treatment of zein-S-S-PTX-NP at the equivalent PTX concentrations of 0.1, 0.5, 1, and 5 μg/mL, respectively, zein-S-S-PTX-NP had zero damage to normal cells but a similar cytotoxicity to cancer cells as pure PTX. In the animal study, the tumor was 50% of the original size after the treatment of zein-S-S-PTX-NP for 9 days with 3 doses. This study suggested that the novel prodrug based nanoparticle zein-S-S-PTX-NP could be a promising approach in chemotherapy with targeted delivery, improved efficacy, and reduced side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11812-11822
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number44
Early online date19 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • paclitaxel
  • prodrug
  • redox-responsive
  • self-assembly
  • triggered release
  • zein


Dive into the research topics of 'Zein-Paclitaxel Prodrug Nanoparticles for Redox-Triggered Drug Delivery and Enhanced Therapeutic Efficiency'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this