Folate conjugated silk fibroin nanocarriers for targeted drug delivery†
Disease treatment processes mainly focus on the development of nontoxic, biodegradable, non-immunogenic, biocompatible materials capable of controlled and long-term release of biomolecules. In this work silk protein fibroin from non-mulberry tropical tasar silkworm, Antheraea mylitta, is used to prepare nanoparticles as a drug delivery system. Folate is a vitamin, which is brought into healthy and cancerous cells by folate receptors. The efficiency of silk fibroin–folate nanoparticles loaded with anticancer drug doxorubicin was evaluated by analysing the cell viability, proliferation and endocytosis. Consequently the effects of pro-inflammatory responses by cytokines such as TNF-α, IL-1β and nitric oxide were checked by stimulating the macrophages with folate conjugated silk fibroin nanoparticles. The fibroin–folate nanocarriers are nontoxic, easily taken up by cells and capable of sustained drug release. Nanoparticles loaded with anticancer drug doxorubicin target cancer cells. The results show that silk fibroin–folate nanoparticles may serve as promising nanocarriers for different biomedical and nanotechnology applications in cancer research.