Four positive, four negative, and two zwitterionic BBN HPMA copolymer conjugates of varying peptide content and charge were synthesized. In vitro and in vivo studies were conducted in a GRPR-overexpressing prostate cancer cell line (PC-3) and a normal CF-1 mouse model, respectively.
Cellular uptake of the conjugates were found to be charge and BBN density dependent. The positively-charged conjugates illustrated a direct relationship between the extent of cellular internalization, ranging from 0.7 to 20%, and BBN-incorporation density. The negative and zwitterionic conjugates showed low PC-3 uptake values. Blocking studies confirmed the GRPR-targeting effect of the positively-charged constructs. In vivo studies of the positively-charged copolymers resulted in rapid blood clearance by the mononuclear phagocyte system (MPS)-associated tissues (e.g., liver and spleen).
Positively-charged BBN-HPMA copolymer conjugates demonstrated good GRPR-targeting and internalization in vitro. However, the impact of peptide density and charge on in vivo MPS recognition are parameters that must be optimized in future agent development.