Folic acid-modified methotrexate-conjugated gold nanoparticles as nano-sized trojans for drug delivery to folate receptor-positive cancer cells

Yucel O., Sengelen A., Emik S., Onay-Ucar E. , ARDA E. Ş. N. , Gurdag G.

NANOTECHNOLOGY, cilt.31, 2020 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier identifier


Methotrexate (MTX), an analog of folic acid (FA), is a drug widely used in cancer treatment. To prevent its potential toxicity and enhance therapeutic efficacy, targeted drug delivery systems, especially nanotechnology-folate platforms, are a central strategy. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are promising candidates to be used as drug delivery systems because of their small particle sizes and their inertness for the body. In this study, glutathione (GSH)-coated FA-modified spherical AuNPs (5.6 nm) were successfully synthesized, and the anticancer activity of novel MTX-loaded (MTX/Au-GSH-FA) NPs (11 nm) was examined. Dynamic light scattering (DLS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) results showed that MTX/AuNPs possess spherical morphology, nanoscaled particle size, narrow size distribution, and good stability.In vitrostudies showed that cytotoxicity of MTX/Au-GSH-FA to folate receptor-positive (FR+) human brain (U-87 MG) and cervical (HeLa) cancer cells enhanced significantly (similar to 3 and similar to 10 fold, respectively) compared to free MTX while there was no significant effect in FR-negative human cell lines A549 (lung carcinoma), PC3 (prostate carcinoma), HEK-293 (healthy embryonic kidney). Moreover, the receptor specificity of the conjugate was shown by fluorescent microscopic imaging. In conclusion, these results indicate that the synthesized novel MTX/Au-GSH-FA NP complex seems to be a good candidate for effective and targeted delivery in FR+ cancer therapy.