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Dimeric Artesunate–Phosphatidylcholine-Based Liposomes for Irinotecan Delivery as a Combination Therapy Approach

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journal contribution
posted on 02.09.2021, 02:03 authored by Wei He, Yawei Du, Tao Wang, Ji Wang, Lei Cheng, Xinsong Li
In this work, dimeric artesunate–phosphatidylcholine conjugate (dARTPC)-based liposomes encapsulated with irinotecan (Ir) were developed for anticancer combination therapy. First, dARTPC featured with unique amphipathic properties formed liposomes by classical thin-film methods. After that, Ir was encapsulated into dARTPC-based liposomes (Ir/dARTPC-LP) by the triethylammonium sucrose octasulfate gradient method. Physicochemical characterization indicated that Ir/dARTPC-LP had a mean size of around 140 nm and a negative ζ potential of approximately −30 mV. Most noticeably, liposomes displayed an encapsulation efficiency of greater than 98% with a controllable drug loading of 4–22%. The in vitro release of dihydroartemisinin (DHA) and Ir from Ir/dARTPC-LP was investigated by dialysis in different media. It was found that effective release of both DHA (65.42%) and Ir (77.28%) in a weakly acidic medium (pH 5.0) after 48 h was achieved in comparison to very slow release under a neutral environment (DHA 9.90% and Ir 8.72%), indicating the controllable release of both drugs. Confocal laser scanning microscopy confirmed the improved cellular internalization of Ir/dARTPC-LP. The cytotoxicity of Ir/dARTPC-LP was evaluated in the MCF-7, A549, and HepG2 cell lines. The results showed that Ir/dARTPC-LP had significant synergistic efficacy in the loss of cell growth. In vivo anticancer evaluation was performed using a 4T1 xenograft tumor model. Ir/dARTPC-LP had a high tumor inhibition rate of 62.7% without significant toxicity in comparison with the injection of Ir solution. Taken together, dARTPC encapsulated with Ir has great potential for anticancer combination therapy.