Biological effects of amphiphilic copolymer nanoparticle-encapsulated multi-target chemotherapeutic drugs on MCF-7 human breast cancer cells

Yili Hu, Limin Zhang, Hai Wang, Shan Xu, Ayeesha Mujeeb, Guangjun Nie, Huiru Tang, Yulan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Amphiphilic copolymer nanoparticle-encapsulated multi-target chemotherapeutic drugs have attracted considerable attention due to their favorable drug efficiency and potential application prospect. Studies have shown that an amphiphilic copolymer, methoxypoly(ethylene glycol)-poly(lactide-co-glycolide) modified with ε-polylysine, and encapsulated with hydrophilic doxorubicin, hydrophobic paclitaxel and survivin siRNA profoundly improved the therapeutic effect both in vitro and in vivo. Objectives: To investigate how MCF-7 cells would response to the exposure of these nanoparticles over with time and assess the biological effects of these nanoparticles and their encapsulated drugs in a holistic manner. Methods: MCF-7 cells were treated with PBS, nanocarrier and three encapsulated drugs, respectively. Metabolic alterations associated with nano-drugs exposure were investigated by performing untargeted NMR metabolomics with combination of targeted fatty acids analysis by GC-MS on cell extracts. Altered metabolic pathways were further validated by qRT-PCR approach. Results: Copolymers showed great biocompatibility with cells as it induced transit metabolic disruptions without affecting cell survival rate. The rapid release of encapsulated doxorubicin resulted in inhibition of glycolysis and DNA synthesis, active proteolysis; these metabolic alternations were recovered after 10 h exposure. However, the combination use of multiple drugs consistently induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis evidenced by reduction in glycolysis, active proteolysis, stimulated O-GlcNAcylation, reduced the PC:GPC ratio and fatty acids accumulation. Prolonged exposure to encapsulated-multiple-drugs also induced oxidative stress to cells. Conclusion: These findings provide important insight into the biological effects of nanoparticles and their encapsulated drugs while demonstrate that metabolomics is a powerful approach to evaluate the biological effects of nano-drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number49
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Co-delivery of drugs
  • Metabolic response
  • Metabolomics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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