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    Biodegradable star HPMA polymer-drug conjugates: Biodegradability, distribution and anti-tumor efficacy. Etrych Tomáš,Kovář Lubomír,Strohalm Jiří,Chytil Petr,Ríhová Blanka,Ulbrich Karel Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society Herein, new biodegradable star polymer-doxorubicin conjugates designed for passive tumor targeting were investigated, and their synthesis, physico-chemical characterization, drug release, biodegradation, biodistribution and in vivo anti-tumor efficacy are described. In the conjugates, the core formed by poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers was grafted with semitelechelic N-(2-hydroxypropyl)methacrylamide (HPMA) copolymers bearing doxorubicin (Dox) attached by hydrazone bonds, which enabled intracellular pH-controlled drug release. The described synthesis facilitated the preparation of biodegradable polymer conjugates in a broad range of molecular weights (200-1000g/mol) while still maintaining low polydispersity (~1.7). The polymer grafts were attached to the dendrimers through either stable amide bonds or enzymatically or reductively degradable spacers, which enabled intracellular degradation of the high-molecular-weight polymer carrier to excretable products. Biodegradability tests in suspensions of EL4 T-cell lymphoma cells showed that the rate of degradation was much faster for reductively degradable conjugates (close to completion within 24h of incubation) than for conjugates linked via an enzymatically degradable oligopeptide GFLG sequence (slow degradation taking several days). This finding was likely due to the differences in steric hindrance in terms of the accessibility of the small molecule glutathione and the bulky enzyme cathepsin B to the polymer substrate. Regarding drug release, the conjugates were fairly stable in buffer at pH 7.4 (model of blood stream) but released doxorubicin under mild acidic conditions that model the tumor cell microenvironment. The star polymer-Dox conjugates exhibited significantly prolonged blood circulation and enhanced tumor accumulation in tumor-bearing mice, indicating the important role of the EPR effect in its anti-cancer activity. The star polymer conjugates showed prominently higher in vivo anti-tumor activities than the free drug or linear polymer conjugate when tested in mice bearing EL4 T-cell lymphoma, with a significant number of long-term surviving (LTS). Based on the results, we conclude that a M(w) of HPMA copolymers of 200,000 to 600,000g/mol is optimal for polymer carriers designed for the efficient passive targeting to solid tumors. In addition, an expressive therapy-dependent stimulation of the immune system was observed. 10.1016/j.jconrel.2011.06.015
    Cellular internalization and transport of biodegradable polyester dendrimers on a model of the pulmonary epithelium and their formulation in pressurized metered-dose inhalers. Heyder Rodrigo S,Zhong Qian,Bazito Reinaldo C,da Rocha Sandro R P International journal of pharmaceutics The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of generation and surface PEGylation of degradable polyester-based dendrimers nanocarriers on their interactions with an in vitro model of the pulmonary epithelium as well as to assess the ability to formulate such carriers in propellant-based, portable oral-inhalation devices to determine their potential for local and systemic delivery of drugs to and through the lungs. Hydroxyl (-OH) terminated polyester dendrimers of generation 3 and 4 (G3, and G4) were synthesized using a divergent approach. G4 was surface-modified with PEG (1,000Da). All dendrimers and their building blocks were determined to be highly compatible with the model pulmonary epithelium, with toxicity profiles much more favorable than non-degradable polyamidoamine dendrimers (PAMAM). The transport of the species from the apical to basolateral side across polarized Calu-3 monolayers showed to be generation and surface-chemistry (PEGylation) dependent. The extent of the transport is modulated by their interaction with the polarized epithelium and their transient opening of the tight junctions. G3 was the one most efficiently internalized by the epithelium, and had a small impact on the integrity of the monolayer. On the other hand, the PEGylated G4 was the one least internalized by the polarized epithelium, and at the same time had a more pronounced transient impact on the cellular junctions, resulting in more efficient transport across the cell monolayer. PEGylation of the dendrimer surface played other roles as well. PEGylation modulated the degradation profile of the dendrimer, slowing the process in a step-wise fashion - first the PEG layer is shed and then the dendrimer starts degrading. PEGylation also helped increase the solvation of the nanocarriers by the hydrofluoroalkane propellant used in pressurized metered-dose inhalers, resulting in formulations with excellent dispersibility and aerosol quality (deep lung deposition of 88.5%), despite their very small geometric diameter. The combined in vitro and formulation performance results shown here demonstrated that degradable, modified polyester dendrimers may serve as a valuable platform that can be tailored to target the lung tissue for treating local diseases, or the circulation, using the lungs as pathway to the bloodstream. 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2017.01.057