pH-Responsive Triblock Copolymeric Micelles Decorated with a Cell-Penetrating Peptide Provide Efficient Doxorubicin Delivery.

Research paper by Khen Eng KE Ng, Mohd Cairul Iqbal Mohd MC Amin, Haliza H Katas, Muhammad Wahab MW Amjad, Adeel Masood AM Butt, Prashant P Kesharwani, Arun K AK Iyer

Indexed on: 07 Dec '16Published on: 07 Dec '16Published in: Nanoscale Research Letters


This study developed novel triblock pH-responsive polymeric micelles (PMs) using cholic acid-polyethyleneimine-poly-L-arginine (CA-PEI-pArg) copolymers. PEI provided pH sensitivity, while the hydrophilic cell-penetrating pArg peptide promoted cellular PM internalization. The copolymers self-assembled into PMs in aqueous solution at above the critical micelle concentration (2.98 × 10(-7) M) and encapsulated doxorubicin in the core region, with a 34.2% (w/w) entrapment efficiency. PMs showed pH-dependent swelling, increasing in size by almost sevenfold from pH 7.4 to 5.0. Doxorubicin release was pH-dependent, with about 65% released at pH 5.0, and 32% at pH 7.4. Cellular uptake, assessed by confocal microscopy and flow cytometry, was enhanced by using doxorubicin-loaded CA-PEI-pArg PMs, as compared to free doxorubicin and DOX-loaded CA-PEI PMs. Moreover, 24-h incubation of these PMs with a human breast cancer cell line produced greater cytotoxicity than free doxorubicin. These results indicate that pH-responsive CA-PEI-pArg micelles could provide a versatile delivery system for targeted cancer therapy using hydrophobic drugs. Graphical of CA-PEI-pArg polymeric micelles as a pH-responsive drug delivery system.