Characterization of Gemcitabine Loaded Polyhydroxybutyrate Coated Magnetic Nanoparticles for Targeted Drug Delivery

Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2020;20(10):1233-1240. doi: 10.2174/1871520620666200310091026.


Background: Targeted drug delivery is one of the recent hot topics in cancer therapy. Because of having a targeting potential under the magnetic field and a suitable surface for the attachment of different therapeutic moieties, magnetic nanoparticles are widely studied for their applications in medicine.

Objective: Gemcitabine loaded polyhydroxybutyrate coated magnetic nanoparticles (Gem-PHB-MNPs) were synthesized and characterized for the treatment of breast cancer by the targeted drug delivery method.

Methods: The characterization of nanoparticles was confirmed by FTIR, XPS, TEM, and spectrophotometric analyses. The cytotoxicities of drug-free nanoparticles and Gemcitabine loaded nanoparticles were determined with cell proliferation assay using SKBR-3 and MCF-7 breast cancer cell lines.

Results: The release of Gemcitabine from PHB-MNPs indicated a pH-dependent pattern, which is a desirable release characteristic, since the pH of the tumor microenvironment and endosomal structures are acidic, while bloodstream and healthy-tissues are neutral. Drug-free PHB-MNPs were not cytotoxic to the SKBR-3 and MCF- 7 cells, whereas the Gemcitabine loaded PHB-MNPs was about two-fold as cytotoxic with respect to free Gemcitabine. In vitro targeting ability of PHB-MNPs was shown under the magnetic field.

Conclusion: Considering these facts, we may suggest that these nanoparticles can be a promising candidate for the development of a novel targeted drug delivery system for breast cancer.

Keywords: MCF-7; Polyhydroxybutyrate; SKBR-3; breast cancer; gemcitabine; magnetic nanoparticles; targeting drug delivery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / chemistry
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / pharmacology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Deoxycytidine / chemistry
  • Deoxycytidine / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hydroxybutyrates / chemistry
  • Hydroxybutyrates / pharmacology*
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Particle Size
  • Polyesters / chemistry
  • Polyesters / pharmacology*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Hydroxybutyrates
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles
  • Polyesters
  • Deoxycytidine
  • gemcitabine