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Niosomes as Drug Nanovectors: Multiscale pH-Dependent Structural Response

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journal contribution
posted on 09.02.2016, 00:00 by Carlotta Marianecci, Luisa Di Marzio, Elena Del Favero, Laura Cantù, Paola Brocca, Valeria Rondelli, Federica Rinaldi, Luciana Dini, Antonio Serra, Paolo Decuzzi, Christian Celia, Donatella Paolino, Massimo Fresta, Maria Carafa
The use of nanocarriers, which respond to different stimuli controlling their physicochemical properties and biological responsivness, shows a growing interest in pharmaceutical science. The stimuli are activated by targeting tissues and biological compartments, e.g., pH modification, temperature, redox condition, enzymatic activity, or can be physically applied, e.g., a magnetic field and ultrasound. pH modification represents the easiest method of passive targeting, which is actually used to accumulate nanocarriers in cells and tissues. The aim of this paper was to physicochemically characterize pH-sensitive niosomes using different experimental conditions and demonstrate the effect of surfactant composition on the supramolecular structure of niosomes. In this attempt, niosomes, made from commercial (Tween21) and synthetic surfactants (Tween20 derivatives), were physicochemically characterized by using different techniques, e.g., transmission electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and small-angle X-ray scattering. The changes of niosome structure at different pHs depend on surfactants, which can affect the supramolecular structure of colloidal nanocarriers and their potential use both in vitro and in vivo. At pH 7.4, the shape and structure of niosomes have been maintained; however, niosomes show some differences in terms of bilayer thicknesses, water penetration, membrane coupling, and cholesterol dispersion. The acid pH (5.5) can increase the bilayer fluidity, and affect the cholesterol depletion. In fact, Tween21 niosomes form large vesicles with lower curvature radius at acid pH; while Tween20-derivative niosomes increase the intrachain mobility within a more interchain correlated membrane. These results demonstrate that the use of multiple physicochemical procedures provides more information about supramolecular structures of niosomes and improves the opportunity to deeply investigate the effect of stimuli responsiveness on the niosome structure.

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