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Interaction of Self-Assembled Squalenoyl Gemcitabine Nanoparticles with Phospholipid−Cholesterol Monolayers Mimicking a Biomembrane

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journal contribution
posted on 19.04.2011 by Anshuman Ambike, Véronique Rosilio, Barbara Stella, Sinda Lepêtre-Mouelhi, Patrick Couvreur
Gemcitabine (dFdC or Gem) is a water-soluble cytotoxic drug, with poor cellular uptake in the absence of a nucleoside transporter. To improve its diffusion through membranes, it was modified by grafting of a squalenoyl moiety. In water, this derivative is able to form stable and monodispersed nanoparticles made of inverse hexagonal phases. The formation and interfacial properties of the squalenoyl gemcitabine (SQ-Gem) nanoparticles, and their ability to interact with phospholipid and cholesterol monolayers modeling a biomembrane, was assessed from surface tension measurements and Brewster angle microscopy. To get a better insight into the mechanisms of SQ-Gem interaction with the various lipids, the interfacial behavior of SQ-Gem and squalene was also studied by surface pressure and surface potential measurements, in the absence and in the presence of phospholipids and cholesterol. The results showed that SQ-Gem nanoparticles adsorbed at the free air/water interface and disrupted to form a monolayer. SQ-Gem molecules released from the adsorbed nanoparticles were also able to penetrate into condensed phospholipid−cholesterol mixed monolayers. The kinetics of this penetration was apparently controlled by intermolecular interactions between the drug and the adsorbed lipids. Whereas distearoylphosphatidylcholine (DSPC) hindered SQ-Gem penetration, cholesterol favored it, which could have important implications in the therapeutic field since cholesterol targeting could alter lipid raft composition and cancer cell survival.