The synergistic effect of folate and RGD dual ligand of nanographene oxide on tumor targeting and photothermal therapy in vivo.

PMID 26489965


Effective delivery of nanoparticles to the target site is necessary for successful biomedical applications. Inefficient targeting is a major concern for nanomedicines in cancer therapy. Conjugation of multiple targeting ligands to the nanoparticle surface might further enhance the targeting efficiency by a co-operative effect of individual ligands. In this study, a dual ligand targeting nanographene oxide (nGO) was developed by non-covalent interaction with folate and cRGD functionalized pluronic, which allowed precise control of ligand number on the nGO surface and ensured stability under physiological conditions. The tumor targeting abilities of single and dual ligand decorated nGOs were evaluated in vitro by using KB cells, over-expressing folate and integrin αvβ3 receptors. In vitro cellular uptake analysis by flow cytometry and confocal laser scanning microscopy showed enhanced uptake of dual ligand modified nGO compared to any of the single ligand modified nGOs. The cellular uptake of dual targeted cRGD-FA-nGO was increased by 1.9 and 2.4 folds compared to single targeted cRGD-nGO or FA-nGO, respectively. The in vivo biodistribution experiment in a mouse xenograft model also confirmed the synergistic targeting effect of cRGD and folate dual functionalized nGO. A significantly higher tumor accumulation of cRGD-FA-nGO was observed compared to cRGD-nGO or FA-nGO. The higher tumor accumulation of dual targeted nGO resulted in complete ablation of tumor tissue through an enhanced photothermal effect by NIR laser irradiation. Therefore, co-functionalization of a nanoparticle by cRGD and folate is a potentially useful way to enhance the tumor targeting efficacy.