Glycyrrhetinic Acid-Mediated Polymeric Drug Delivery Targeting the Acidic Microenvironment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma


The major hurdle of current drug carrier against hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the lack of specific and selective drug delivery to HCC. In this study, a novel glycyrrhetinic acid (GA) and poly(L-Histidine) (PHIS) mediated polymeric drug delivery system was developed to target HCC that have GA binding receptors and release its encapsulated anticancer drug in the acidic microenvironment of HCC. Firstly, GA and PHIS were conjugated to form poly (ethylene glycol)-poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (GA-PEG-PHIS-PLGA, GA-PPP) micelles by grafting reaction between active terminal groups. Secondly, andrographolide (AGP) was encapsulated to GA-PPP to make AGP/GA-PPP using the solvent evaporation method. The pH-responsive property of AGP/GA-PPP micelles was validated by monitoring its stability and drug release behavior in different pH conditions. Furthermore, selective hepatocellular uptake of GA-PPP micelles in vitro, liver specific drug accumulation in vivo, as well as the enhanced antitumor effects of AGP/GA-PPP micelles confirmed the HCC targeting property of our novel drug delivery system. Average size of AGP/GA-PPP micelles increased significantly and the encapsulated AGP released faster in vitro at pH 5.0, while micelles keeping stable in pH 7.4. AGP/GA-PPP micelles were uptaken more efficiently by human Hep3B liver cells than that by human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. GA-PPP micelles accumulated specifically in the liver and possessed long retention time in vivo. AGP/GA-PPP micelles significantly inhibited tumor growth and provided better therapeutic outcomes compared to free AGP and AGP/PEG-PLGA(AGP/PP) micelles without GA and PHIS decoration. This novel GA-PPP polymeric carrier is promising for targeted treatment of HCC. Graphical Abstract A novel dual-functional polymeric micellar system loading andrographolide (AGP) was formulated for HCC treatment to target to hepatoma tissue actively and release drugs in hepatoma cells selectively. The synergetic cytotoxicity in vitro and anticancer efficiency in vivo of micelles mediated by hepatoma-guide of glycyrrhetinic acid (GA) and pH-sensitive of Poly(L-histidine)(PHIS) moiety were demonstrated.

DOI: 10.1007/s11095-015-1714-2

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@article{Zhang2015GlycyrrhetinicAP, title={Glycyrrhetinic Acid-Mediated Polymeric Drug Delivery Targeting the Acidic Microenvironment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma}, author={Jinming Zhang and Min Zhang and Juan F. Ji and Xiefan Fang and Xin Pan and Yitao Wang and Chuanbin Wu and Meiwan Chen}, journal={Pharmaceutical Research}, year={2015}, volume={32}, pages={3376-3390} }