pH-responsive polymeric nanoparticles with tunable sizes for targeted drug delivery†
Biodegradable nanoparticles (NPs) have shown great promise as intracellular imaging probes, nanocarriers and drug delivery vehicles. In this study, we designed and prepared amphiphilic cellulose derivatives via Schiff base reactions between 2,3-dialdehyde cellulose (DAC) and amino compounds. Polymeric NPs were facilely fabricated via the self-assembly of the as-synthesized amphiphilic macromolecules. The size distribution of the obtained NPs can be tuned by changing the amount and length of the grafted hydrophobic side-chains. Anticancer drugs (DOX) were encapsulated in the NPs and the drug-loaded NPs based on cellulose derivatives were stable in neutral and alkaline environments for at least a month. They rapidly decomposed with the efficient release of the drug in acidic tumor microenvironments. These drug-loaded NPs have the potential for application in cancer treatment.