Multifunctional decoration of alpha-tocopheryl succinate-based NP for cancer treatment: effect of TPP and LTVSPWY peptide

Active targeting not only of a specific cell but also a specific organelle maximizes the therapeutic activity minimizing adverse side effects in healthy tissues. The present work describes the synthesis, characterization, and in vitro biological activity of active targeting nanoparticles (NP) for cancer therapy based on α-tocopheryl succinate (α-TOS), a well-known mitocan, that selectively induces apoptosis of cancer cells and proliferating endothelial cells. Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) targeting peptide LTVSPWY (PEP) and triphenylphosphonium lipophilic cation (TPP) were conjugated to a previously optimized RAFT block copolymer that formed self-assembled NP of appropriate size for this application and low polydispersity by self-organized precipitation method. PEP and TPP were included in order to target not only HER2 positive cancer cells, but also the mitochondria of these cancer cells, respectively. The in vitro experiments demonstrated the faster incorporation of the active-targeting NP and the higher accumulation of TPP-bearing NP in the mitochondria of MDA-MB-453 HER2 positive cancer cells compared to non-decorated NP. Moreover, the encapsulation of additional α-TOS in the hydrophobic core of the NP was achieved with high efficiencies. The loaded NP presented higher cytotoxicity than unloaded NP but preserved their selectivity against cancer cells in a range of tested concentrations.

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