The delivery systems improve the efficacy of chemotherapeutics through enhanced targeting and controlled release however, biological barriers of tumor microenvironment greatly impede the penetration of nanomedicine within the tumor. We report herein the fabrication of a PEG-detachable silybin (SLB) pH-sensitive liposome decorated with TAT-peptide. For this, Acyl hydrazide-activated PEG was prepared and linked with ketone-derivatized DPPE via an acid-labile hydrazone bond to form mPEG-HZ-DPPE. TAT peptide was conjugated with a shorter -PEG-DSPE spacer and post-inserted into PEGylated liposome (DPPC: mPEG-DSPE: Chol). To prepare nanoliposomes (around 100 nm), first, a patent-based method was used to prepare SLB-Soya PC (SLB-SPC) complex, then this complex was incorporated into nanoliposomes. The pH-sensitivity and shielding effect of long PEG chain on TAT peptide was investigated using DiI liposome and FACS analysis. Pre-treatment to the lowered pH enhanced cellular association of TAT-modified pH-sensitive liposome due to the cleavage of hydrazone bond and TAT exposure. Besides, TAT-modified pH-sensitive liposomes significantly reduced cell viability compared to the plain liposome. In vivo results were very promising with pH-sensitive liposome by detaching PEG moieties upon exposure to the acidic tumor microenvironment, enhancing cellular uptake, retarding tumor growth, and prolonging the survival of 4T1 breast tumor-bearing BALB/c mice. TAT modification of pH-sensitive liposome improved cancer cell association and cytotoxicity and demonstrated potential intracellular delivery upon exposure to acidic pH. However, in in vivo studies, TAT as a targeting ligand significantly decreased the therapeutic efficacy of the formulation attributed to an inefficient tumor accumulation and higher release rate in the circulation. The results of this study indicated that pH-sensitive liposome containing SLB, which was prepared with a novel method with significantly high SLB loading efficiency, is very effective in the treatment of 4T1 breast tumor-bearing BALB/c mice and merits further investigation.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.