Chitosan nanobeads loaded with Biginelli hybrids as cell-selective toxicity systems with a homogeneous distribution of the cell cycle in cancer treatment†
Tetrahydropyrimidines are a class of azaheterocycles, also called Biginelli hybrids (obtained from the Biginelli reaction), that have attracted an enormous interest in the medicinal chemistry community in recent years, due to a broad biological activity, such as anticancer, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antituberculosis activities, etc. According to SciFinder®, more than 70 000 different Biginelli-like compounds have been covered in publications. However, although the Biginelli reaction can yield a large number of compounds with a broad range of activities, none of them have been captured in a carrier. In this study, chitosan-based (Ch) nanoparticles (NPs) containing three different molecules (Biginelli hybrids) were developed and tested for the first time as simple and promising vehicles for anticancer Biginelli-based drugs. The key features of NPs, such as size, surface morphology, drug encapsulation efficiency, and in vitro release were systematically investigated. Rather weak cell selectivity of pure Biginelli hybrids (A–C) to selected cancer cell lines has improved and this has been accompanied with two-to-four times stronger cytotoxic effect of A–C loaded Ch NPs, with a triple reduction in toxicity to healthy cells (MRC-5). It has been observed that the examined NPs induce apoptosis. The cell cycle analysis has confirmed the influence of A-loaded Ch (A-Ch), B-loaded Ch (B-Ch), and C-loaded Ch (C-Ch) on the cell cycle distribution, which was homogenously affected. This is the difference with regard to the effect of A, B, and C on the cell cycle. It has been established that the increased selectivity and antitumor activity of NPs are related to the presence of the carrier.