Protein corona formation moderates the release kinetics of ion channel antagonists from transferrin-functionalized polymeric nanoparticles

Priya S.R. Naidu, Eleanor Denham, Carole A. Bartlett, Terry McGonigle, Nicolas L. Taylor, Marck Norret, Nicole M. Smith, Sarah A. Dunlop, K. Swaminathan Iyer, Melinda Fitzgerald

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Transferrin (Tf)-functionalized p(HEMA-ran-GMA) nanoparticles were designed to incorporate and release a water-soluble combination of three ion channel antagonists, namely zonampanel monohydrate (YM872), oxidized adenosine triphosphate (oxATP) and lomerizine hydrochloride (LOM) identified as a promising therapy for secondary degeneration that follows neurotrauma. Coupled with a mean hydrodynamic size of 285 nm and near-neutral surface charge of-5.98 mV, the hydrophilic nature of the functionalized polymeric nanoparticles was pivotal in effectively encapsulating the highly water soluble YM872 and oxATP, as well as lipophilic LOM dissolved in water-based medium, by a back-filling method. Maximum loading efficiencies of 11.8 ± 1.05% (w/w), 13.9 ± 1.50% (w/w) and 22.7 ± 4.00% (w/w) LOM, YM872 and oxATP respectively were reported. To obtain an estimate of drug exposure in vivo, drug release kinetics assessment by HPLC was conducted in representative physiological milieu containing 55% (v/v) human serum at 37 °C. In comparison to serum-free conditions, it was demonstrated that the inevitable adsorption of serum proteins on the Tf-functionalized nanoparticle surface as a protein corona impeded the rate of release of LOM and YM872 at both pH 5 and 7.4 over a period of 1 hour. While the release of oxATP from the nanoparticles was detectable for up to 30 minutes under serum-free conditions at pH 7.4, the presence of serum proteins and a slightly acidic environment impaired the detection of the drug, possibly due to its molecular instability. Nevertheless, under representative physiological conditions, all three drugs were released in combination from Tf-functionalized p(HEMA-ran-GMA) nanoparticles and detected for up to 20 minutes. Taken together, the study provided enhanced insight into potential physiological outcomes in the presence of serum proteins, and suggests that p(HEMA-ran-GMA)-based therapeutic nanoparticles may be promising drug delivery vehicles for CNS therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2856-2869
Number of pages14
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2020

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