Doxorubicin-loaded galactose-conjugated poly(d,l-lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles as hepatocyte-targeting drug carrier

M Margarida Cardoso, Inês N. Peça, Cláudia D. Raposo, Krasimira Todorova Markova Petrova, Maria Teresa Barros, Rui Gardner, A. Bicho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this work is to produce doxorubicin-loaded galactose conjugated poly(D,L-lactide-coglycolide) (PLGA) nanoparticles (NPs) to be specifically recognised by human hepatoma cellular carcinoma (Hep G2) cells and assess NPs cytotoxicity. Doxorubicin-unloaded and doxorubicin-loaded galactose-conjugated PLGA NPs were prepared using an emulsion method and characterised for morphology, size, drug release behaviour, Hep G2 recognition and cell cytotoxicity. The produced doxorubicin-loaded PLGA-galactose conjugate nanoparticles (PLGA-GAL NPs) are spherical in shape with a size of 365 ± 74 nm, a drug encapsulation efficiency of 69% and released in a biphasic pattern with higher release rates at pH 5.
In vitro cell studies confirmed the specific interaction between the receptors of Hep G2 and the PLGA-GAL NPs. Cell cytotoxicity tests showed that unloaded NPs are non-toxic and that doxorubicin-loaded NPs caused a cellular viability decrease of around 80%, therefore representing a promising approach to
improve liver-specific drug delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-322
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Microencapsulation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2016


  • Galactosylated PLGA
  • liver-specific nanoparticles
  • Hep G2 cells
  • asialoglycoprotein receptor (ASPGR)
  • doxorubicin delivery


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