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Thiolated chitosan-modified PLA-PCL-TPGS nanoparticles for oral chemotherapy of lung cancer

Liqin Jiang, Xuemin Li, Lingrong Liu and Qiqing Zhang*

Author Affiliations

Tianjin Key Laboratory of Biomaterial Research, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Peking Union Medical College & Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Tianjin, 300192, China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:66  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-66

Published: 9 February 2013


Oral chemotherapy is a key step towards ‘chemotherapy at home’, a dream of cancer patients, which will radically change the clinical practice of chemotherapy and greatly improve the quality of life of the patients. In this research, three types of nanoparticle formulation from commercial PCL and self-synthesized d-α-tocopheryl polyethylene glycol 1000 succinate (PLA-PCL-TPGS) random copolymer were prepared in this research for oral delivery of antitumor agents, including thiolated chitosan-modified PCL nanoparticles, unmodified PLA-PCL-TPGS nanoparticles, and thiolated chitosan-modified PLA-PCL-TPGS nanoparticles. Firstly, the PLA-PCL-TPGS random copolymer was synthesized and characterized. Thiolated chitosan greatly increases its mucoadhesiveness and permeation properties, thus increasing the chances of nanoparticle uptake by the gastrointestinal mucosa and improving drug absorption. The PLA-PCL-TPGS nanoparticles were found by FESEM that they are of spherical shape and around 200 nm in diameter. The surface charge of PLA-PCL-TPGS nanoparticles was reversed from anionic to cationic after thiolated chitosan modification. The thiolated chitosan-modified PLA-PCL-TPGS nanoparticles have significantly higher level of the cell uptake than that of thiolated chitosan-modified PLGA nanoparticles and unmodified PLA-PCL-TPGS nanoparticles. In vitro cell viability studies showed advantages of the thiolated chitosan-modified PLA-PCL-TPGS nanoparticles over Taxol® in terms of cytotoxicity against A549 cells. It seems that the mucoadhesive nanoparticles can increase paclitaxel transport by opening tight junctions and bypassing the efflux pump of P-glycoprotein. In conclusion, PLA-PCL-TPGS nanoparticles modified by thiolated chitosan could enhance the cellular uptake and cytotoxicity, which revealed a potential application for oral chemotherapy of lung cancer.

Oral chemotherapy; PLA-PCL-TPGS; Thiolated chitosan; Nanoparticles; Lung cancer