alpha-Lipoic acid stabilized DTX/IR780 micelles for photoacoustic/fluorescence imaging guided photothermal therapy/chemotherapy of breast cancer

WT Li and JR Peng and Q Yang and LJ Chen and L Zhang and XX Chen and ZY Qian, BIOMATERIALS SCIENCE, 6, 1201-1216 (2018).

DOI: 10.1039/c8bm00096d

Micellar nanoparticles have unique advantages as carriers for therapeutic or imaging agents, owing to their smaller size and better penetration of tumors. However, some agents, due to their physical or chemical properties, are difficult to load into micelles. IR780 is one of these agents, and is also a promising near-infrared dye for fluorescence imaging (FI)/photoacoustic imaging (PAI) and cancer photothermal therapy (PTT). Its hydrophobic and high crystallization structure results in limited bioavailability in vivo. It is difficult to load into micelles constructed from an amphiphilic block polymer with relatively low molecular weight. In this study, we use computer simulation and introduce another small biomolecule, alpha-lipoic acid, into the micelles constructed from a mPEG-PCL copolymer, to lower the energy of molecular interaction between MPEG-PCL and IR780, and expect to enhance the loading capacity of the micelles to IR780. The introduction of -lipoic acid decreases the energy of molecular interaction between MEPG-PCL and IR780 from -46.18 kJ mol(-1) to -196.52 kJ mol(-1) and increases the loading capacity and stability of the mPEG- PCL micelles to IR780, which also maintains the loading capacity to DTX. We further construct DTX/IR780 co-loaded mPEG-PCL micelles for FI/PAI dual modal imaging guided PTT/chemotherapy of cancer. By FI and PAI evaluation in vitro and in vivo, we demonstrate that the DTX/IR780 co- loaded micelles can be used as FI and PAI probes. By further evaluating the therapeutic outcome of PTT/chemotherapy co-therapy of breast cancer, we demonstrate that the DTX/IR780 co-loaded mPEG-PCL micelles can serve as promising candidates for FI and PAI guided PTT/chemotherapy of breast cancer.

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