Biomacromolecules, Vol.20, No.7, 2809-2820, 2019
Redox-Responsive Fluorescent Polycarbonates Based on Selenide for Chemotherapy of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Transient increase of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is vital for some physiological processes, whereas the chronic and sustained high ROS level is usually implicated in the inflammatory diseases and cancers. Herein, we report the innovative redoxresponsive theranostic micellar nanoparticles that are able to load anticancer drugs through coordination and hydrophobic interaction and to fluorescently monitor the intracellular redox status. The nanoparticles were formed by the amphiphilic block copolymers composed of a PEG segment and a selenide-containing hydrophobic polycarbonate block with a small fraction of coumarin-based chromophore. Under the alternative redox stimulation that might be encountered in the physiological process of some healthy cells, these nanoparticles underwent the reversible changes in size, morphology, and fluorescence intensity. With the assistance of small model compounds, we clarified the chemistry behind these changes, that is, the redox triggered reversible transformation between selenide and selenoxide. Upon the monotonic oxidation similar to the sustained high ROS level of cancer cells, the nanoparticles could be disrupted completely, which was accompanied by the drastic decrease in fluorescence. Cisplatin and paclitaxel were simultaneously coloaded in the nanoparticles with a moderate efficacy, and the coordination between selenide and platinum improved the stability of the drug-loaded nanoparticles against dilution. The naked nanoparticles are cytocompatible, whereas the dual drug-loaded nanoparticles exhibited a concentration dependent and synergistic cytotoxicity to triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells. Of importance, the drug-loaded nanoparticles are much more toxic to TNBC cells than to normal cells due in part to ROS overproduction in the former cell lines.