Preparation, characterization and application of star-shaped PCL/PEG micelles for the delivery of doxorubicin in the treatment of colon cancer.

Research paper by Xiang X Gao, BiLan B Wang, XiaWei X Wei, Wang W Rao, Fang F Ai, Fen F Zhao, Ke K Men, Bowen B Yang, Xingyu X Liu, Meijuan M Huang, Maling M Gou, ZhiYong Z Qian, Ning N Huang, Yuquan Y Wei

Indexed on: 16 Mar '13Published on: 16 Mar '13Published in: International journal of nanomedicine


Star-shaped polymer micelles have good stability against dilution with water, showing promising application in drug delivery. In this work, biodegradable micelles made from star-shaped poly(ε-caprolactone)/poly(ethylene glycol) (PCL/PEG) copolymer were prepared and used to deliver doxorubicin (Dox) in vitro and in vivo. First, an acrylated monomethoxy poly (ethylene glycol)-poly(ε-caprolactone) (MPEG-PCL) diblock copolymer was synthesized, which then self-assembled into micelles, with a core-shell structure, in water. Then, the double bonds at the end of the PCL blocks were conjugated together by radical polymerization, forming star-shaped MPEG-PCL (SSMPEG-PCL) micelles. These SSMPEG-PCL micelles were monodispersed (polydispersity index = 0.11), with mean diameter of ≈25 nm, in water. Blank SSMPEG-PCL micelles had little cytotoxicity and did not induce obvious hemolysis in vitro. The critical micelle concentration of the SSMPEG-PCL micelles was five times lower than that of the MPEG-PCL micelles. Dox was directly loaded into SSMPEG-PCL micelles by a pH-induced self-assembly method. Dox loading did not significantly affect the particle size of SSMPEG-PCL micelles. Dox-loaded SSMPEG-PCL (Dox/SSMPEG-PCL) micelles slowly released Dox in vitro, and the Dox release at pH 5.5 was faster than that at pH 7.0. Also, encapsulation of Dox in SSMPEG-PCL micelles enhanced the anticancer activity of Dox in vitro. Furthermore, the therapeutic efficiency of Dox/SSMPEG-PCL on colon cancer mouse model was evaluated. Dox/SSMPEG-PCL caused a more significant inhibitory effect on tumor growth than did free Dox or controls (P < 0.05), which indicated that Dox/SSMPEG-PCL had enhanced anticolon cancer activity in vivo. Analysis with terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) showed that Dox/SSMPEG-PCL induced more tumor cell apoptosis than free Dox or controls. These results suggested that SSMPEG-PCL micelles have promising application in doxorubicin delivery for the enhancement of anticancer effect.