Alpha－tocopheryl polyethylene glycolsuccinate－emulsified poly(lactic－co－glycolic acid) nanoparticles for reversal of multidrug resistance in vitro
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is one of the factors in the failure of anticancer chemotherapy. In order to enhance the anticancer effect of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) substrates, inhibition of the P-gp efflux pump on MDR cells is a good tactic. We designed novel multifunctional drug-loaded alpha-tocopheryl polyethylene glycol succinate (TPGS)/poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles (TPGS/PLGA/SN-38 NPs; SN-38 is 7-ethyl-10-hydroxy-camptothecin), with TPGS-emulsified PLGA NPs as the carrier and modulator of the P-gp efflux pump and SN-38 as the model drug. TPGS/PLGA/SN-38 NPs were prepared using a modified solvent extraction/evaporation method. Physicochemical characterizations of TPGS/PLGA/SN-38 NPs were in conformity with the principle of nano-drug delivery systems (nDDSs), including a diameter of about 200 nm, excellent spherical particles with a smooth surface, narrow size distribution, appropriate surface charge, and successful drug-loading into the NPs. The cytotoxicity of TPGS/PLGA/SN-38 NPs to MDR cells was increased by 3.56 times compared with that of free SN-38. Based on an intracellular accumulation study relative to the time-dependent uptake and efflux inhibition, we suggest novel mechanisms of MDR reversal of TPGS/PLGA NPs. Firstly, TPGS/PLGA/SN-38 NPs improved the uptake of the loaded drug by clathrin-mediated endocytosis in the form of unbroken NPs. Simultaneously, intracellular NPs escaped the recognition of P-gp by MDR cells. After SN-38 was released from TPGS/PLGA/SN-38 NPs in MDR cells, TPGS or/and PLGA may modulate the efflux microenvironment of the P-gp pump, such as mitochondria and the P-gp domain with an ATP-binding site. Finally, the controlled-release drug entered the nucleus of the MDR cell to induce cytotoxicity. The present study showed that TPGS-emulsified PLGA NPs could be functional carriers in nDDS for anticancer drugs that are also P-gp substrates. More importantly, to enhance the therapeutic effect of P-gp substrates, this work might provide a new insight into the design of pharmacologically inactive excipients that can serve as P-gp modulators instead of drugs that are P-gp inhibitors.