Novel dehydropeptide-based magnetogels containing manganese ferrite nanoparticles as antitumor drug nanocarriers
Herein, novel dehydropeptide-based magnetogels, based on the hydrogelators Npx-L-Phe-Z-ΔAbu-OH, Npx-L-Trp-Z-ΔPhe-OH and Npx-L-Ala-Z-ΔPhe-Gly-L-Arg-Gly-L-Asp-Gly-OH and containing manganese ferrite nanoparticles (diameters around 20 nm), were prepared and characterized. TEM and FTIR measurements showed that the magnetogels maintained the fibrous structure of neat hydrogels, with fibres of ca. 20 nm average width (generally in the range 10–30 nm) and a few conformational changes relative to the neat hydrogels. The magnetogels were tested as nanocarriers for two potential fluorescent antitumor drugs: a thienopyridine derivative and the natural compound curcumin. FRET (Förster resonance energy transfer) from the aromatic moieties (energy donors) of gels to the fluorescent drugs (energy acceptors) and fluorescence anisotropy measurements confirmed the incorporation of both drugs into the magnetogel matrices. The transport of both drugs loaded into the magnetogels to membrane models (small unilamellar vesicles) was assessed by FRET between the fluorescent drugs and the dye Nile Red. The magnetogel possessing the RGD sequence was most promising for the delivery of the thienopyridine derivative, whereas three magnetogels were found to be suitable for the delivery of curcumin.