Reversibly-regulated drug release using poly(tannic acid) fabricated nanocarriers for reduced secondary side effects in tumor therapy†
Numerous nanocarriers with pH-responsive properties have been designed and fabricated to reduce the adverse side effects of traditional chemotherapeutics, but these traditional nanocarriers are rarely reversible; this may cause “secondary” side effects on normal tissues, because the nanocarriers cannot be sealed again to prevent the leakage of incompletely released drugs after re-entering blood circulation. To overcome these limitations, we report herein the synthesis of a reversibly pH-responsive drug delivery system, which can achieve regulated drug release in a “release-stop-release” manner corresponding to changes in pH. Specifically, poly(tannic acid) as the “gatekeeper” was firstly deposited and polymerized on the surface of mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) via a modified mussel-inspired method similar to dopamine, and the formed polymer shell can be easily decorated with a targeting ligand HER2 antibody for the selective delivery of drugs to specific cells. The resulting nanocomposites exhibited good colloidal stability, good biocompatibility, high drug loading capacity and accurate HER2 antibody mediated targeting ability. Interestingly, a series of experiments fully demonstrated that the fabricated nanocomposites possessed intelligent reversible pH-responsive controlled release behavior through adjusting the density of the “gatekeeper” under different pH conditions, thereby achieving reversible switching from “on” to “off”. Furthermore, in vitro and in vivo experiments verified that the fabricated targeting nanoparticles could efficiently inhibit tumor growth with minimal side effects. Meanwhile, these nanocarriers exhibited excellent reusability, in vitro cytotoxicity and minimal in vivo myocardial damage. Collectively, the reversible pH-operated nanovalve on the MSNs constructed here could serve as a nanoplatform to solve the problem of “secondary” side effects caused by residual drugs in irreversible “gatekeeper” systems.