Development of α-tocopherol surface-modified targeted delivery of 5-fluorouracil-loaded poly-D, L-lactic-co-glycolic acid nanoparticles against oral squamous cell carcinoma

Srivastava S, Gupta S, Mohammad S, Ahmad I



The aim of the study to develop surface modified targeted moiety α-tocopherol (α-t) encapsulated with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-poly-D, L-lactic-co-glycolic acid nanoparticles (PLGA NPs) toward the anticancer activity against oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).


5-FU was conjugated with the polymer, PLGA by ionic cross-linking and α-tocopherol use as a functionalized surface moiety. Characterization, drug entrapment efficiency, and in-vitro drug release system were optimized at different pH 7.4 and pH 4.5. The in-vitro cell was performed to optimize the anticancer activity through MTT assay and apoptotic staining assay was also performed by flow cytometry to evaluate the cellular apoptotic activity and cellular uptake.


The particle size was distributed within an average range of 145-162 nm, the polydispersity index values lie 0.16-0.30, and the surface charge was at the negative side, -17mV to -23mV. The in vitro drug release system showed more sympathetic situation at pH 7.4 as compared to pH 4.5, for targeted NPs, approximately 86% and 69%, respectively. The non-targeted 5-FU-PLGA NPs showed drug release of 83% and 64% at pH 7.4 and 4.5 subsequently. In vitro anticancer activity confirmed the intense inhibition by α-t-FU-PLGA NPs of 79.98% after 96 h treatment of SCC15 cells and confirmed the steady-state inhibition of 83.74% after 160 h incubation in comparison to 5-FU-PLGA NPs. Subsequently, the early apoptosis, 27.98%, and 16.45%, and late apoptosis, 47.29%, and 32.57%, suggested the higher apoptosis rate in targeted NPs against OSCC.


The surface modified α-t-FU-PLGA NP was treated over SCC15 cells, and the oral cancer cells have shown the high intensity of cellular uptake, which confirmed that the target moiety has successfully invaded over the surface of cancer cells and shown advanced targeted delivery against OSCC.

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