AN in vitro evaluation of a carmustine-loaded Nano-co-Plex for potential magnetic-targeted intranasal delivery to the brain

Olufemi D. Akilo, Yahya E. Choonara, André M. Strydom, Lisa C. Du Toit, Pradeep Kumar, Girish Modi, Viness Pillay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Targeted delivery of carmustine (BCNU), an efficient brain tumor therapeutic, has been challenged with bioavailability issues due to the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB). The currently effective delivery approach is by implants at the site of the tumor, but this is highly invasive. The intranasal route, which is non-invasive and bypasses the BBB, may be alternative route for delivering BCNU to the brain. In this work, polyvinyl alcohol/polyethyleneimine/fIuorecein isothiocyanate complex (Polyplex) coated iron-oxide nanoparticles (Magnetite) were synthesized employing co-precipitation, epoxidation and EDC/NHS coupling reactions. The Polyplex coated magnetite (Nano-co-Plex) was loaded with BCNU for potential magnetically targeted delivery to the brain following intranasal administration. The Nano-co-Plex was characterized employing Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) magnetometry, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), X-ray Diffractometry (XRD), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Zetasize analysis. Results revealed superparamagnetic hexagonally shaped "core-shell" nanoparticles with cell labeling attributes, of size ranging between 30-50 nm, and a zeta potential value of +32 ± 2 mV. The Nano-co-Plex synthesized was found to possess high degree of crystallinity with 32% Polyplex coating. The loading and release studies indicated a time-dependent loading with maximum loading capacity of 176.82 μg BCNU/mg of the carrier and maximum release of 75.8% of the loaded BCNU. Cytotoxicity of the BCNU-loaded Nano-co-Plex displayed superiority over the conventional BCNU towards human glioblastoma (HG) cells. Cell studies revealed enhanced uptake and internalization of BCNU-loaded Nano-co-plex in HG cells in the presence of an external magnetic field. These Nano-co-Plexes may be ideal as an intranasal magnetic drug targeting device for BCNU delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-209
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2016


  • Blood brain barrier
  • Brain tumor
  • Carmustine
  • Chemotherapeutics
  • Core-shell
  • Iron oxide nanoparticles
  • Magnetite
  • Nano-co-Plex
  • Polyplex
  • Superparamagnetic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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