Journal of biomedical nanotechnology

Novel composed galactosylated nanodevices containing a ribavirin prodrug as hepatic cell-targeted carriers for HCV treatment.

PMID 23858977


In this paper, we describe the preparation of liver-targeted nanoparticles potentially able to carry to hepatocytes a ribavirin (RBV) prodrug, exploiting the presence of carbohydrate receptors in the liver (i.e., ASGPR in hepatocytes). These particles were obtained starting from a galactosylated phospholipid-polyaminoacid conjugate. This latter was obtained by chemical reaction of alpha,beta-poly(N-2-hydroxyethyl) (2-aminoethylcarbamate)-DL-aspartamide (PHEA-EDA) with 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine-N-(succinyl) sodium salt (DPPE), and subsequent reaction with lactose, obtaining PHEA-EDA-DPPE-GAL copolymer. To enhance the entrapment into obtained nanostructures, a hydrophobic RBV prodrug, i.e., RBV tripalmitate, was synthesized and its capability to release RBV in the presence of an adequate enzymatic activity was demonstrated. RBV tripalmitate-loaded nanoparticles were obtained starting from PHEA-EDA-DPPE-GAL copolymer by using the dialysis method. These particles showed spherical shape and nanometric size. By in vitro experiments the absence of haemolytic activity of RBV tripalmitate-loaded PHEA-EDA-DPPE-GAL nanoparticles and their specificity toward HepG2 were demonstrated by using a competitive inhibition assay in the presence of free GAL and assessing nanoparticle uptake in the presence of free GAL and/or non-galactosylated nanoparticles. This finding raises hope in terms of future nanoparticle-based liver-targeted drug delivery strategy for the hepatitis C treatment.