Highly efficient delivery of potent anticancer iminoquinone derivative by multilayer hydrogel cubes

Academic Article


  • © 2017 Acta Materialia Inc. We report a novel delivery platform for a highly potent anticancer drug, 7-(benzylamino)-3,4-dihydro-pyrrolo[4,3,2-de]quinolin-8(1H)-one (BA-TPQ), using pH- and redox-sensitive poly(methacrylic acid) (PMAA) hydrogel cubes of micrometer size as the encapsulating matrix. The hydrogels are obtained upon cross-linking PMAA with cystamine in PMAA/poly(N-vinylpyrrolidone) multilayers assembled within mesoporous sacrificial templates. The BA-TPQ-loaded hydrogels maintain their cubical shape and pH-sensitivity after lyophilization, which is advantageous for long-term storage. Conversely, the particles degrade in vitro in the presence of glutathione (5 mM) providing 80% drug release within 24 h. Encapsulating BA-TPQ into hydrogels significantly increases its transport via Caco-2 cell monolayers used as a model for oral delivery where the apparent permeability of BA-TPQ-hydrogel cubes was ∼2-fold higher than that of BA-TPQ. BA-TPQ-hydrogel cubes exhibit better anticancer activity against HepG2 (IC50 = 0.52 µg/mL) and Huh7 (IC50 = 0.29 µg/mL) hepatoma cells with a 40% decrease in the IC50 compared to the non-encapsulated drug. Remarkably, non-malignant liver cells have a lower sensitivity to BA-TPQ-hydrogel cubes with 2-fold increased IC50 values compared to those of cancer cells. In addition, encapsulating BA-TPQ in the hydrogels amplifies the potency of the drug via down-regulation of MDM2 oncogenic protein and upregulation of p53 (a tumor suppressor) and p21 (cell proliferation suppressor) expression in HepG2 liver cancer cells. Moreover, enhanced inhibition of MDM2 protein expression by BA-TPQ-hydrogel cubes is independent of p53 status in Huh7 cells. This drug delivery platform of non-spherical shape provides a facile method for encapsulation of hydrophobic drugs and can facilitate the enhanced efficacy of BA-TPQ for liver cancer therapy. Statement of Significance Many potent anticancer drugs are hydrophobic and lack tumor selectivity, which limits their application in cancer therapy. Although cubical hydrogels of poly(methacrylic acid) exhibit excellent biocompatibility and versatility, they have not been investigated for hydrophobic drug delivery due to poor mechanical stability and incompatibility between hydrophobic drugs and a hydrophilic hydrogel network. In this study, we provide a facile method to prepare a multilayer hydrogel-based platform with controlled nanostructure, cubical shape and redox-responsiveness for delivery of highly potent anticancer therapeutics, hydrophobic BA-TPQ. The BA-TPQ-hydrogel cubes have exceptional structural stability upon lyophilization which is advantageous for a long-term storage. The greatly enhanced trans-epithelial permeability and amplified anti-tumor activity of BA-TPQ are achieved by encapsulation in these hydrogel cubes. Furthermore, the anticancer BA-TPQ-hydrogel platform retains the selective activity of BA-TPQ to hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Overall, the produced BA-TPQ-hydrogel cubes demonstrate a high potential for clinical liver cancer therapy.
  • Published In

  • Acta Biomaterialia  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Xue B; Wang W; Qin JJ; Nijampatnam B; Murugesan S; Kozlovskaya V; Zhang R; Velu SE; Kharlampieva E
  • Start Page

  • 386
  • End Page

  • 398
  • Volume

  • 58