Morphology tunable and acid-sensitive dextran–doxorubicin conjugate assemblies for targeted cancer therapy†
Stimuli-responsive and targetable nanomedicine systems have been widely applied as effective modalities for drug delivery and tumor therapeutics. Particle shape is also important for the biodistribution and cellular uptake in drug delivery applications. Here, morphology tunable and acid-responsive dextran–doxorubicin conjugate assemblies of DD-M and DDF-V for targeted doxorubicin (DOX) delivery were constructed, which contain the following favorable advantages: (1) one-pot synthesis of the drug loaded system with a Schiff base reaction is a green chemistry method which is better than the conventional drug conjugation/encapsulation methods. (2) The morphology of the nanoparticles could be regulated from a micelle (DD-M) to vesicle (DDF-V) structure by either introducing folic acid (FA) or not. (3) The abundant hydroxyl groups and electronegativity give DD-M and DDF-V superior stability in the physiological environment. (4) Besides, the multifunctional DDF-V with its important merits including tumor-targeting ability and acid-responsiveness is specific for DOX delivery in cancer therapy. (5) Compared to free DOX and DD-M, DDF-V displayed enhanced anti-tumor efficacy both in vitro and in vivo without obvious systematic toxicity. The morphology tunable, acid-sensitive and targetable nanosystem could be a promising strategy for site-specific drug delivery and potential cancer therapy in the future.