Octreotide is believed to be the ligand of somatostatin receptors (SSTRs) which are widely used in tumor diagnosis and clinical therapy. In the present work, a new targeting conjugate, octreotide-polyethylene glycol-phosphatidylethanolamine (Oct-PEG-PE), was developed for the assembling of liposome, and the effect of octreotide-modification on the enhancement of the delivery and targeting of doxorubicin-loaded liposomes was investigated in vitro and in vivo. Oct-PEG-PE was synthesized by a three-step reaction involving two derivative intermediate formations of bis (p-nitrophenyl carbonate)-PEG ((pNP)(2)-PEG) and pNP-PEG-PE. The Oct-modified and unmodified liposomes (DOX-OL and DOX-CL) were prepared by the ammonium sulfate gradient method. Both drug uptake assay and cell apoptosis assay suggested that DOX-OL noticeably increased the uptake of DOX in SMMC-7721 cells and showed a more significant cytotoxicity, compared with DOX-CL. The effect of DOX-OL was remarkably inhibited by free octreotide. In contrast, no significant difference in drug cytotoxicity was found between DOX-OL and DOX-CL in CHO cells without obvious expression of SSTRs. The study of ex vivo fluorescence tissues imaging of BALB/c mice and in vivo tissue distribution of B16 tumor-bearing mice indicated that DOX-OL caused remarkable accumulation of DOX in melanoma tumors and the pancreas, in which the SSTRs are highly expressed.
Octreotide-modification enhances the delivery and targeting of doxorubicin-loaded liposomes to somatostatin receptors expressing tumor in vitro and in vivo