Shape Effects of Cylindrical versus Spherical Unimolecular Polymer Nanomaterials on in Vitro and in Vivo Behaviors.
ABSTRACT: To date, how the shape of nanomaterials influences their biological properties is poorly understood, due to the insufficient controllability of current preparative methods, especially in the shape and size of nanomaterials. In this paper, we achieved the precise syntheses of nanoscale unimolecular cylindrical polymer brushes (CPBs) and spherical polymer nanoparticles (SPNPs) with the same volume and surface chemistry, which ensured that shape was essentially the only variable when their biological performance was compared. Accurate shape effects were obtained. Impressively, the CPBs had remarkable advantage in tissue penetration over the SPNPs. The CPBs also exhibited higher cellular uptake and rapider body clearance than the SPNPs, whereas the SPNPs had longer blood circulation time, rapider tumor vascular extravasation, and higher tumor accumulation than the CPBs. Additionally, this work also provided a controllable synthesis strategy for nanoscale unimolecular SPNPs by integrating 21 CPBs to a ?-cyclodextrin core, whose diameter in dry state could be up to 45 nm.
Project description:Polymer systems can be designed into different structures and morphologies according to their physical and chemical performance requirements, and are considered as one of the most promising controlled delivery systems that can effectively improve the cancer therapeutic index. However, the majority of the polymer delivery systems are designed to be simple <i>spherical</i> nanostructures. To explore morphology/size-oriented delivery performance optimization, here, we synthesized three novel cylindrical polymer brushes (CPBs) by atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), which were cellulose-<i>g</i>-(CPT-<i>b</i>-OEGMA) (CCO) with different lengths (~86, ~40, and ~21 nm). The CPBs are composed of bio-degradable cellulose as the carrier, poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate (OEGMA) as hydrophily block, and glutathione (GSH)-responsive hydrophobic camptothecin (CPT) monomer as loaded anticancer drug. By controlling the chain length of the initiator, three kinds of polymeric prodrugs with different lengths (CCO-1, CCO-2, and CCO-3) could be self-organized into unimolecular micelles in water. We carried out comparative studies of three polymers, whose results verified that the shorter CPBs exhibited higher drug release efficiency, more cellular uptake, and enhanced tumor permeability, accompanied by shortened blood circulation time and lower tumor accumulation. As evidenced by <i>in vivo</i> experiments, the shorter CPBs exhibited higher anti-tumor efficiency, revealing that the size advantage has a higher priority than the anisotropic structure advantage. This provided vital information as to design an anisotropic polymer-based drug delivery system for cancer therapy.
Project description:Due to the overexpression of somatostatin receptors in neuroendocrine (NE) cancers, drug nanocarriers conjugated with somatostatin analogs, such as octreotide (OCT), for targeted NE cancer therapy may offer increased therapeutic efficacies and decreased adverse effects. In this study, OCT-functionalized unimolecular micelles were prepared using individual hyperbranched polymer molecules consisting of a hyperbranched polymer core (Boltorn(®) H40) and approximately 25 amphiphilic polylactide-poly(ethlyene glycol) (PLA-PEG) block copolymer arms (H40-PLA-PEG-OCH3/OCT). The resulting micelles, exhibiting a uniform core-shell shape and an average hydrodynamic diameter size of 66 nm, were loaded with thailandepsin-A (TDP-A), a relatively new naturally produced histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. In vitro studies using flow cytometry and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) demonstrated that OCT conjugation enhanced the cellular uptake of the unimolecular micelles. Consequently, TDP-A-loaded and OCT-conjugated micelles exhibited the highest cytotoxicity and caused the highest reduction of NE tumor markers. Finally, the in vivo studies on NE cancer bearing nude mice demonstrated that TDP-A-loaded and OCT-conjugated micelles possessed superior anticancer activity in comparison with other TDP-A formulations or drug alone, while showing no detectable systemic toxicity. Thus, these TDP-A-loaded and OCT-conjugated micelles offer a promising approach for targeted NE cancer therapy.
Project description:Deciphering the significance of length, sequence, and stereochemistry in block copolymer self-assembly remains an ongoing challenge. A dearth of methods to access uniform block co-oligomers/polymers with precise stereochemical sequences has precluded such studies. Here, we develop iterative exponential growth methods for the synthesis of a small library of unimolecular stereoisomeric diblock 32-mers. X-ray scattering reveals that stereochemistry modulates the phase behavior of these polymers, which we rationalize based on simulations carried out on a theoretical model system. This work demonstrates that stereochemical sequence can play a crucial role in unimolecular polymer self-assembly.
Project description:A novel type of self-fluorescent unimolecular micelle nanoparticle (NP) formed by multi-arm star amphiphilic block copolymer, Boltron® H40 (H40, a 4th generation hyperbranched polymer)-biodegradable photo-luminescent polymer (BPLP)-poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) conjugated with cRGD peptide (i.e., H40-BPLP-PEG-cRGD) was designed, synthesized, and characterized. The hydrophobic BPLP segment was self-fluorescent, thereby making the unimolecular micelle NP self-fluorescent. cRGD peptides, which can effectively target ?v?3 integrin-expressing tumor neovasculature and tumor cells, were selectively conjugated onto the surface of the micelles to offer active tumor-targeting ability. This unique self-fluorescent unimolecular micelle exhibited excellent photostability and low cytotoxicity, making it an attractive bioimaging probe for NP tracking for a variety of microscopy techniques including fluorescent microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), and two-photon microscopy. Moreover, this self-fluorescent unimolecular micelle NP also demonstrated excellent stability in aqueous solutions due to its covalent nature, high drug loading level, pH-controlled drug release, and passive and active tumor-targeting abilities, thereby making it a promising nanoplatform for targeted cancer theranostics.
Project description:A unique pH/redox dual-sensitive cationic unimolecular nanoparticle (NP) enabling excellent endosomal/lysosomal escape and efficient siRNA decomplexation inside the target cells was developed for tumor-targeted delivery of siRNA. siRNA was complexed into the cationic core of the unimolecular NP through electrostatic interactions. The cationic core used for complexing siRNA contained reducible disulfide bonds that underwent intracellular reduction owing to the presence of high concentrations of reduced glutathione (GSH) inside the cells, thereby facilitating the decomplexation of siRNA from the unimolecular NPs. The cationic polymers were conjugated onto the hyperbranched core (H40) via a pH-sensitive bond, which further facilitated the decomplexation of siRNA from the NPs. In vitro studies on the siRNA release behaviors showed that dual stimuli (pH=5.3, 10mM GSH) induced the quickest release of siRNA from the NPs. In addition, the imidazole groups attached to the cationic polymer segments enhanced the endosomal/lysosomal escape of NPs via the proton sponge effect. Intracellular tracking studies revealed that siRNA delivered by unimolecular NPs was efficiently released to the cytosol. Moreover, the GE11 peptide, an anti-EGFR peptide, enhanced the cellular uptake of NPs in MDA-MB-468, an EFGR-overexpressing triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) cell line. The GE11-conjugated, GFP-siRNA-complexed NPs exhibited excellent GFP gene silencing efficiency in GFP-MDA-MB-468 TNBC cells without any significant cytotoxicity. Therefore, these studies suggest that this smart unimolecular NP could be a promising nanoplatform for targeted siRNA delivery to EFGR-overexpressing cancer cells.
Project description:Dual functional unimolecular micelles based on a pH-responsive amphiphilic star polymer β-CD-(PLA-b-PDMAEMA-b-PEtOxMA)21 have been developed for the co-delivery of imiquimod and plasmid DNA to dendritic cells. The star polymer with well-defined triblock arms was synthesized by combining activator regenerated by electron-transfer atom-transfer radical polymerization with ring-opening polymerization. Dissipative particle dynamics simulation showed that core-mesophere-shell-type unimolecular micelles could be formed. Imiquimod-loaded micelles had a drug loading of 1.6 wt % and a larger average size (28 nm) than blank micelles (19 nm). The release of imiquimod in vitro was accelerated at the mildly acidic endolysosomal pH (5.0) in comparison to physiologic pH (7.4). Compared with blank micelles, a higher N:P ratio was required for imiquimod-loaded micelles to fully condense DNA into micelleplexes averaging 200⁻400 nm in size. In comparison to blank micelleplexes, imiquimod-loaded micelleplexes of the same N:P ratio displayed similar or slightly higher efficiency of gene transfection in a mouse dendritic cell line (DC2.4) without cytotoxicity. These results suggest that such pH-responsive unimolecular micelles formed by the well-defined amphiphilic star polymer may serve as promising nano-scale carriers for combined delivery of hydrophobic immunostimulatory drugs (such as imiquimod) and plasmid DNA with potential application in gene-based immunotherapy.
Project description:The synthesis of cyclic amphiphilic graft copolymers with a hydrophobic polycarbonate backbone and hydrophilic poly(<i>N</i>-acryloylmorpholine) (PNAM) side arms via a combination of ring-opening polymerization (ROP), cyclization via copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC), and reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization is reported. The ability of these cyclic graft copolymers to form unimolecular micelles in water is explored using a combination of light scattering, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), and cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryoTEM) analyses, where particle size was found to increase with increasing PNAM arm length. Further analysis revealed differences in the solution conformations, loading capabilities, and morphologies of the cyclic graft copolymers in comparison to equivalent linear graft copolymer unimolecular micelle analogues. Furthermore, the cyclic and linear graft copolymers were found to exhibit significantly different cloud point temperatures. This study highlights how subtle changes in polymer architecture (linear graft copolymer versus cyclic graft copolymer) can dramatically influence a polymer's nanostructure and its properties.
Project description:It has been previously shown that the DHX36 gene product, G4R1/RHAU, tightly binds tetramolecular G4-DNA with high affinity and resolves these structures into single strands. Here, we test the ability of G4R1/RHAU to bind and unwind unimolecular G4-DNA. Gel mobility shift assays were used to measure the binding affinity of G4R1/RHAU for unimolecular G4-DNA-formed sequences from the Zic1 gene and the c-Myc promoter. Extremely tight binding produced apparent K(d)'s of 6, 3 and 4?pM for two Zic1 G4-DNAs and a c-Myc G4-DNA, respectively. The low enzyme concentrations required for measuring these K(d)'s limit the precision of their determination to upper boundary estimates. Similar tight binding was not observed in control non-G4 forming DNA sequences or in single-stranded DNA having guanine-rich runs capable of forming tetramolecular G4-DNA. Using a peptide nucleic acid (PNA) trap assay, we show that G4R1/RHAU catalyzes unwinding of unimolecular Zic1 G4-DNA into an unstructured state capable of hybridizing to a complementary PNA. Binding was independent of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), but the PNA trap assay showed that unwinding of G4-DNA was ATP dependent. Competition studies indicated that unimolecular Zic1 and c-Myc G4-DNA structures inhibit G4R1/RHAU-catalyzed resolution of tetramolecular G4-DNA. This report provides evidence that G4R1/RHAU tightly binds and unwinds unimolecular G4-DNA structures.
Project description:Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) is often resistant to standard therapies, emphasizing the need for the development of other treatments. A new histone deacetylase inhibitor, AB3, can effectively inhibit MTC cell proliferation in vitro. However, its poor aqueous solubility and stability, fast clearance, and lack of tumor targeting ability limit its in vivo application. Therefore, multifunctional unimolecular micelles were developed for targeted delivery of AB3 for MTC therapy. The unimolecular micelles exhibited a spherical core-shell structure, uniform size distribution, and excellent stability. AB3 was encapsulated into the hydrophobic core of the unimolecular micelles, thus significantly enhancing its aqueous solubility and stability. KE108, a somatostatin analog possessing high affinity to all five subtypes of SSTR, was used as an MTC-targeting ligand. In vitro cellular uptake analyses demonstrated that the KE108 exhibited superior targeting ability in MTC cells compared to octreotide, the first clinically used somatostatin analog. Moreover, the AB3-loaded and KE108-conjugated unimolecular micelles exhibited the best efficacy in suppressing MTC cell growth and tumor marker expression in vitro. Furthermore, AB3-loaded, KE108-conjugated micelles demonstrated the best anticancer efficacy in vivo without any apparent systemic toxicity, thereby offering a promising approach for targeted MTC therapy.
Project description:Platinum-based chemotherapy has been widely used to treat cancers including ovarian cancer; however, it suffers from dose-limiting toxicity. Judiciously designed drug nanocarriers can enhance the anticancer efficacy of platinum-based chemotherapy while reducing its systemic toxicity. Herein the authors report a stable and water-soluble unimolecular nanoparticle constructed from a hydrophilic multi-arm star block copolymer poly(amidoamine)-b-poly(aspartic acid)-b-poly(ethylene glycol) (PAMAM-PAsp-PEG) conjugated with both cRGD (cyclo(Arg-Gly-Asp-D-Phe-Cys) peptide and cyanine5 (Cy5) fluorescent dye as a platinum-based drug nanocarrier for targeted ovarian cancer therapy. Carboplatin is complexed to the poly(aspartic acid) inner shell via pH-responsive ion-dipole interactions between carboplatin and the carboxylate groups of poly(aspartic acid). Based on flow cytometry and confocal laser scanning microscopy analyses, cRGD-conjugated unimolecular nanoparticles exhibit much higher cellular uptake by ovarian cancer cells overexpressing ?v ?3 integrin than nontargeted (i.e., cRGD-lacking) ones. Carboplatin-complexed cRGD-conjugated nanoparticles also exhibit higher cytotoxicity than nontargeted nanoparticles as well as free carboplatin, while empty unimolecular nanoparticles show no cytotoxicity. These results indicate that stable unimolecular nanoparticles made of individual hydrophilic multi-arm star block copolymer molecules conjugate with tumor-targeting ligands and dyes (i.e., PAMAM-PAsp-PEG-cRGD/Cy5) are promising nanocarriers for platinum-based anticancer drugs for targeted cancer therapy.