Category: Chemistry

Superior anti-neoplastic activities of triacontanol-PEG conjugate: synthesis, characterization and biological evaluations

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Triacontanol (TA, C30H62O), abundantly present in plant cuticle waxes and bee waxes, has been found to display promising anti-neoplastic potentials. As a long chain fatty alcohol, TA possesses limited aqueous solubility, which hinders its medicinal application. To overcome its solubility barrier, a polymer prodrug was synthesized through attaching TA to poly ethylene glycol (PEG), using succinic acid as a linker with bifunctional amide and ester bonds. Anti-neoplastic effects of PEG-TA were assessed in LoVo and MCF7 cells, anti-proliferative and apoptosis-inducing activities were subsequently confirmed in mouse xenograft model. Encouragingly, PEG-TA possessed selective anti-cancer ability. It did not exhibit significant cytotoxicity on normal cells. Mechanistic examination revealed inhibition of NF-κB nuclear translocation, suppression on matrix degradation enzyme and down-regulation of angiogenic signaling might contribute to its anti-malignant effects. Pharmacokinetics clearly indicated PEGylated TA (named as mPEG2K-SA-TA) substantially enhanced TA delivery with increased plasma exposure (19,791 vs. 336.25 ng·mL−1·h−1,p < .001), mean residence time (8.46 vs. 2.95 h, p < .001) and elimination half-life (7.78 vs. 2.57 h, p < .001) compared to those of original TA. Moreover, mPEG2K-SA-TA appeared to be safe in preliminary toxicological assessment. PEGylated TA also emerged as a functional carrier to deliver hydrophobic chemotherapeutic agents, since it readily self-assembled to micelles in aqueous solution with a low critical micelle concentration (CMC, 19.1 µg·mL−1). Conclusively, PEG-TA conjugate displayed superior anti-neoplastic activities and low toxicity, as well as facilitated the delivery of other hydrophobic agents, which appeared to be an innovative strategy for cancer therapy.(Drug Deliv. 2018; 25(1): 1546–1559.)

Self-assembled nanoparticles based on chondroitin sulfate-deoxycholic acid conjugates for docetaxel delivery: Effect of degree of substitution of deoxycholic acid

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Hydrophobically-modified polymers based on chondroitin sulfate with different degree of substitution (DS) of deoxycholic acid (DOCA) were developed for docetaxel delivery. Chondroitin sulfate-deoxycholic acid (CSAD) bioconjugates were synthesized via the linker of adipic dihydrazide by amide bond. They were characterized with spherical shape, mean diameter of around 165.2 nm and negative zeta potential (⿿14.87 to ⿿20.53 mV). An increase of DOCA DS reduced size of nanoparticles, while increasing drug loading efficiency. Drug release in vitro showed a triphasic sustained pattern and higher accumulative drug release percentage was observed with increased DS of DOCA on polymer. Self-assemblies with higher DS also had enhanced internalization of nanoparticles and stronger cytotoxicity at the cellular level. The self-assemble nanoparticles demonstrate to be excellent targeting drug delivery systems and the desired therapeutics can be achieved via the alteration of DS.(Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces. Volume 146, 1 October 2016, Pages 235-244.)

Amphiphilic polysaccharides as building blocks for self-assembled nanosystems: molecular design and application in cancer and inflammatory diseases

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Polysaccharides (PSs) have been extensively studied in healthcare applications; here, we focus our attention on their use as components of nanomaterials in the management of cancer and inflammatory pathologies. Key advantages of PSs are easy availability, general biodegradability and biocompatibility, low or negligible toxicity, often a low immunogenicity and finally an ease of chemical modification. Here, we pay particular attention to the large family of amphiphilic PS derivatives (AMPDs); they are synthesized by modifying hydrophilic PSs with a variety of hydrophobic groups, which allow the constructs to self-assemble into various nanostructures in aqueous solution. This review focuses on AMPD-based self-assembled nanoparticles, from the chemical synthesis of AMPDs, through nanoparticle preparative strategies, to the most recent applications in cancer and inflammation management, including therapeutics, imaging and theranostics. We also offer an overview, which we feel lacks in the current literature, of the relation between the nature of the hydrophilic PSs and that of the hydrophobic components, of linkers, targeting groups and cross-linkers, and of the actual properties and in vivo fate of AMPD-based nanoparticles. Finally, we believe that this comprehensive insight into the possible effects of AMPDs’ structural components on the performance of nanosystems, can provide criteria for a rational and molecular level-based design of AMPDs. (Journal of Controlled Release. Volume 272, 28 February 2018, Pages 114-144.)

‘Dual’ peptidyl-oligonucleotide conjugates: Role of conformational flexibility in catalytic cleavage of RNA

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Traditional therapeutic interventions against abnormal gene expression in disease states at the level of expressed proteins are becoming increasingly difficult due to poor selectivity, off-target effects and associated toxicity. Upstream catalytic targeting of specific RNA sequences offers an alternative platform for drug discovery to achieve more potent and selective treatment through antisense interference with disease-relevant RNAs. We report a novel class of catalytic biomaterials, comprising amphipathic RNA-cleaving peptides placed between two RNA recognition motifs, here demonstrated to target the TΨC loop and 3′- acceptor stem of tRNAPhe. These unique peptidyl-oligonucleotide ‘dual’ conjugates (DCs) were created by phosphoramidate or thiol-maleimide conjugation chemistry of a TΨC-targeting oligonucleotide to the N-terminus of the amphipathic peptide sequence, followed by amide coupling of a 3′-acceptor stem-targeting oligonucleotide to the free C-terminal carboxylic acid functionality of the same peptide. Hybridization of the DCs bearing two spatially-separated recognition motifs with the target tRNAPhe placed the peptide adjacent to a single-stranded RNA region and promoted cleavage within the ‘action radius’ of the catalytic peptide. Up to 100% cleavage of the target tRNAPhe was achieved by the best candidate (i.e. DC6) within 4 h, when conformational flexibility was introduced into the linker regions between the peptide and oligonucleotide components. This study provides the strong position for future development of highly selective RNA-targeting agents that can potentially be used for disease-selective treatment at the level of messenger, micro, and genomic viral RNA. (Biomaterials 112 (2017) 44e61)

Amphiphilic Polymeric Micelles Based on Deoxycholic Acid and Folic Acid Modified Chitosan for the Delivery of Paclitaxel

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The present investigation aimed to develop a tumor-targeting drug delivery system for paclitaxel (PTX). The hydrophobic deoxycholic acid (DA) and active targeting ligand folic acid (FA) were used to modify water-soluble chitosan (CS). As an amphiphilic polymer, the conjugate FA-CS-DA was synthesized and characterized by Proton nuclear magnetic resonance (¹H-NMR) and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis. The degree of substitutions of DA and FA were calculated as 15.8% and 8.0%, respectively. In aqueous medium, the conjugate could self-assemble into micelles with the critical micelle concentration of 6.6 × 10-3 mg/mL. Under a transmission electron microscope (TEM), the PTX-loaded micelles exhibited a spherical shape. The particle size determined by dynamic light scattering was 126 nm, and the zeta potential was +19.3 mV. The drug loading efficiency and entrapment efficiency were 9.1% and 81.2%, respectively. X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) analysis showed that the PTX was encapsulated in the micelles in a molecular or amorphous state. In vitro and in vivo antitumor evaluations demonstrated the excellent antitumor activity of PTX-loaded micelles. It was suggested that FA-CS-DA was a safe and effective carrier for the intravenous delivery of paclitaxel.

Deoxycholic acid (DA) is a typical bile acid that is secreted from the gallbladder to emulsify fats and other hydrophobic compounds. As an endogenous compound with a lipophilic nature, the introduction of DA to CS could adjust the hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity balance of the conjugate and would not lead to any serious toxicity. DA has been approved as an excellent pharmaceutical additive for injection. Molecular ligands were often grafted onto drug carriers to develop tumor-targeted drug delivery systems. It has been reported that folate receptors are over-expressed in many types of cancers, while almost undetectable in healthy tissues. The folic acid-modified nanocarriers could improve therapeutic efficacy via folate receptor-mediated active targeting. The antitumor efficiency could be significantly enhanced by synergetic active and passive tumor targeting. Based on the above, in present study, a biocompatible nanocarrier based on deoxycholic acid and folic acid-modified chitosan (FA-CS-DA) was designed for targeting the delivery of PTX. The synthesis, characterization and self-assembly of FA-CS-DA and the characterization and in vitro/in vivo antitumor activity of PTX-loaded micelles were studied in detail. (Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Oct 12;19(10).)

Novel phytochemical-antibiotic conjugates as multitarget inhibitors of Pseudomononas aeruginosa GyrB/ParE and DHFR

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BACKGROUND: There is a dearth of treatment options for community-acquired and nosocomial Pseudomonas infections due to several rapidly emerging multidrug resistant phenotypes, which show resistance even to combination therapy. As an alternative, developing selective promiscuous hybrid compounds for simultaneous modulation of multiple targets is highly appreciated because it is difficult for the pathogen to develop resistance when an inhibitor has activity against multiple targets.
METHODS: In line with our previous work on phytochemical-antibiotic combination assays and knowledge-based methods, using a fragment combination approach we here report a novel drug design strategy of conjugating synergistic phytochemical-antibiotic combinations into a single hybrid entity for multi-inhibition of P. aeruginosa DNA gyrase subunit B (GyrB)/topoisomerase IV subunit B (ParE) and dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) enzymes. The designed conjugates were evaluated for their multitarget specificity using various computational methods including docking and dynamic simulations, drug-likeness using molecular properties calculations, and pharmacophoric features by stereoelectronic property predictions.
RESULTS: Evaluation of the designed hybrid compounds based on their physicochemical properties has indicated that they are promising drug candidates with drug-like pharmacotherapeutic profiles. In addition, the stereoelectronic properties such as HOMO (highest occupied molecular orbital), LUMO (lowest unoccupied molecular orbital), and MEP (molecular electrostatic potential) maps calculated by quantum chemical methods gave a good correlation with the common pharmacophoric features required for multitarget inhibition. Furthermore, docking and dynamics simulations revealed that the designed compounds have favorable binding affinity and stability in both the ATP-binding sites of GyrB/ParE and the folate-binding site of DHFR, by forming strong hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic interactions with key active site residues.
CONCLUSION: This new design concept of hybrid “phyto-drug” scaffolds, and their simultaneous perturbation of well-established antibacterial targets from two unrelated pathways, appears to be very promising and could serve as a prospective lead in multitarget drug discovery.

Synergistic Antibacterial Effects of Chitosan-Caffeic Acid Conjugate against Antibiotic-Resistant Acne-Related Bacteria

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The object of this study was to discover an alternative therapeutic agent with fewer side effects against acne vulgaris, one of the most common skin diseases. Acne vulgaris is often associated with acne-related bacteria such as Propionibacteriumacnes, Staphylococcusepidermidis, Staphylococcusaureus, and Pseudomonasaeruginosa. Some of these bacteria exhibit a resistance against commercial antibiotics that have been used in the treatment of acne vulgaris (tetracycline, erythromycin, and lincomycin). In the current study, we tested in vitro antibacterial effect of chitosan-phytochemical conjugates on acne-related bacteria. Three chitosan-phytochemical conjugates used in this study exhibited stronger antibacterial activity than that of chitosan (unmodified control). Chitosan-caffeic acid conjugate (CCA) showed the highest antibacterial effect on acne-related bacteria along with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC; 8 to 256 μg/mL). Additionally, the MIC values of antibiotics against antibiotic-resistant P. acnes and P.aeruginosa strains were dramatically reduced in combination with CCA, suggesting that CCA would restore the antibacterial activity of the antibiotics. The analysis of fractional inhibitory concentration (FIC) indices clearly revealed a synergistic antibacterial effect of CCA with antibiotics. Thus, the median sum of FIC (∑FIC) values against the antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains ranged from 0.375 to 0.533 in the combination mode of CCA and antibiotics. The results of the present study suggested a potential possibility of chitosan-phytochemical conjugates in the control of infections related to acne vulgaris. (Mar Drugs. 2017 Jun 8;15(6).)

Cationic Oligospermine-Oligonucleotide Conjugates Provide Carrier-free Splice Switching in Monolayer Cells and Spheroids

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We report the evaluation of 18-mer 2′-O-methyl-modified ribose oligonucleotides with a full-length phosphorothioate backbone chemically conjugated at the 5′ end to the oligospermine units (Sn-: n = 5, 15, 20, 25, and 30 [number of spermine units]) as splice switching oligonucleotides (SSOs). These conjugates contain, in their structure, covalently linked oligocation moieties, making them capable of penetrating cells without transfection vector. In cell culture, we observed efficient cytoplasmic and nuclear delivery of fluorescein-labeled S20-SSO by fluorescent microscopy. The SSO conjugates containing more than 15 spermine units induced significant carrier-free exon skipping at nanomolar concentration in the absence and in the presence of serum. With an increasing number of spermine units, the conjugates became slightly toxic but more active. Advantages of these molecules were particularly demonstrated in three-dimensional (3D) cell culture (multicellular tumor spheroids [MCTSs]) that mimics living tissues. Whereas vector-complexed SSOs displayed a drastically reduced splice switching in MCTS compared with the assay in monolayer culture, an efficient exon skipping without significant toxicity was observed with oligospermine-grafted SSOs (S15- and S20-SSOs) transfected without vector. It was shown, by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy, that the fluorescein-labeled S20-SSO was freely diffusing and penetrating the innermost cells of MCTS, whereas the vector-complexed SSO penetrated only the cells of the spheroid’s outer layer.
We already reported the use of DMT-spermine phosphoramidite as a versatile reagent compatible with solid-phase oligonucleotide synthesis for the attachment of the desired number of spermine moieties to oligonucleotides, which allowed us to synthesize a variety of oligospermine-oligonucleotide conjugates (zip nucleic acids [ZNAs]). When ZNAs are hybridized to their complementary strands, the cationic oligospermine tail acts as a zipper to neutralize the polyanionic internucleotidic phosphates, thus enhancing binding affinity and binding kinetics. These biophysical properties can be finely tuned according to the number of attached spermine units, making ZNA a versatile PCR probe. ZNA is commercially available (number of spermine units <10) and used in numerous nucleic-acid-based diagnostic applications. Cationic oligospermines covalently attached to oligonucleotides can also act similarly to the polyamine-type delivery vectors. We described small interfering RNA (siRNA)-oligospermine conjugates containing 30 spermine units that induced an efficient carrier-free luciferase gene silencing. Locked nucleic acid (LNA)-oligospermine conjugates with nine spermine units were also reported as active cell-permeable oligonucleotides for antisense and antigene inhibition of gene expression. More recently, the oligospermine with 15 spermine units was attached to cyclic RGD (cRGD)-siRNA conjugate, thus enhancing the tumor cell-specific delivery. (Mol Ther Nucleic Acids. 2018 Dec 7; 13: 483–492.)