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A drug carrier based on glycyrrhetinic acid-modified sulfated chitosan (GA-SCTS) was synthesized. The glycyrrhetinic acid (GA) acted as both a hydrophobic group and a liver-targeting ligand. The GA-SCTS micelles displayed rapid and significant ability to target the liver in vivo. The IC(50) for doxorubicin (DOX)-loaded GA-SCTS micelles (DOX/SA-SCTS micelles) against HepG2 cells was 54.7 ng/mL, which was extremely lower than the amount of no-GA-modified DOX-loaded micelles. In addition, DOX/SA-SCTS micelles could target specifically the liver cancer cells. They had higher affinity for the liver cancer cells (HepG2 cells) than for the normal liver cells (Chang liver cells). There was nearly 2.18-fold improvement in uptake of the DOX/SA-SCTS micelles by HepG2 cells than that by Chang liver cells. These results indicate that GA-SCTS is not only an excellent carrier for drugs, but also a potential vehicle for liver-cancer targeting. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Qin Tian, Xiu-Hua Wang, Wei Wang, Chuang-Nian Zhang, Ping Wang, Zhi Yuan. Self-assembly and liver targeting of sulfated chitosan nanoparticles functionalized with glycyrrhetinic acid. Nanomedicine : nanotechnology, biology, and medicine. 2012 Aug;8(6):870-9

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PMID: 22100756

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