A magnetic nano-sized carrier for 10-hydroxycamptothecin (HCPT) was prepared by using Fe(3)O(4) nanoparticles as cores and chitosan (CS) as a polymeric shell by a novel reverse ultrasonic emulsification method. Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) chains were then coupled onto the magnetic particles (CS-Fe(3)O(4)) to improve their biocompatibility (PEG-CS-Fe(3)O(4)). HCPT was loaded onto PEG-CS-Fe(3)O(4) by a subtle precipitation method. Under optimum conditions, the CS-Fe(3)O(4) was close to spherical in shape with an average size of 174 nm and a high saturated magnetization. After coupling PEG chains, the unspecific adsorption of bovine serum albumin (BSA) on PEG-CS-Fe(3)O(4) decreased significantly. The drug loading content and loading efficiency were 9.8-11.8% and 49-59% for magnetic composite nanoparticles, respectively. HCPT-loaded magnetic composite nanoparticles showed sustained release profiles up to 48 h, and the cumulative release amount of HCPT from nanoparticles at 45°C increased significantly compared to that at 37°C. Cytotoxicity assay suggests that CS-Fe(3)O(4) does not exhibit noteworthy cytotoxicity against HepG2 cells, but the antitumor activities of HCPT-loaded magnetic composite nanoparticles against HepG2 cells increased significantly in comparison with that of pristine HCPT powder. These results reveal the promising potential of PEG-CS-Fe(3)O(4) as a stable magnetic targeting drug carrier in cancer therapy.
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