Triazine Dendrimers for Drug Delivery: Evaluation of Solubilization Properties, Activity in Cell Culture, and In Vivo Toxicity of a Candidate Vehicle

Wen Zhang, Jing Jiang, Chunhua Qin, Lisa M. Pérez, Alan R. Parrish, Stephen H. Safe, Eric E. Simanek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Three criteria are evaluated to assess the potential of a dendrimer based on triazines, 1, for use as a vehicle for drug delivery. These criteria are: (1) its ability to solubilize small hydrophobic guests as measured spectrophotometrically; (2) its ability to deliver a drug in vitro as evaluated using a gene reporter assay; and (3) its in vivo toxicity in mice as determined by autopsy and screens of liver and kidney function. Vehicle 1 solubilizes pyrene to a similar extent to dendrimers based on poly(arylether)s, 4, encapsulating approximately 0.2 molecules of pyrene per dendrimer. This activity is approximately 10-fold greater than that of the more polar poly(propyleneimine) and poly(amidoamine) dendrimers, 2 and 3. Gas-phase computational models reveal that both 1 and 4 have cores that are accessible to solvent, suggesting that these dendrimers can occupy much greater volumes than 2 and 3 whose cores are confined toward the interior of the structure. Electrostatic potential maps can be used to rationalize differences in solubilization between 1 and 4. Precipitation results from mixing cationic 1 with the anionic indomethacin, but not with methotrexate, suggesting that the composition of the drug may dictate the scope of delivery applications. Dendrimer 1 solubilizes 10- hydroxycamptothecin and a novel bisindolemethane; approximately four and five molecules of drug per dendrimer are solubilized, respectively. In cell-culture experiments using a luciferase reporter gene assay, the dendrimer: bisindolemethane conjugate shows comparable activity to the bisindolemethane delivered in aqueous DMSO, suggesting that the dendrimer does not preclude delivery of the molecule to an intracellular target. Preliminary toxicology studies of 1 in mice show that this molecule has no adverse toxicity to the kidneys or the liver in single doses delivered intraperitoneally up to 10 mg/kg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-616
Number of pages10
JournalSupramolecular Chemistry
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Oct 2003


  • Cell culture
  • Dendrimer
  • Drug delivery
  • Melamine
  • Polymer
  • Solubilization
  • Toxicity
  • Triazine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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