Biocompatibility study of two diblock copolymeric nanoparticles for biomedical applications by in vitro toxicity testing

Felipe Goñi-de-Cerio, Valentina Mariani, Dror Cohen, Lea Madi, Julie Thevenot, Hugo Oliveira, Chiara Uboldi, Guido Giudetti, Rosella Coradeghini, Elisabeth Garanger, François Rossi, Meital Portugal-Cohen, Miriam Oron, Rafi Korenstein, Sébastien Lecommandoux, Jessica Ponti, Blanca Suárez-Merino, Pedro Heredia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drugs used for chemotherapy normally carry out adverse, undesired effects. Nanotechnology brings about new horizons to tackle cancer disease with a different strategy. One of the most promising approaches is the use of nanocarriers to transport active drugs. These nanocarriers need to have special properties to avoid immune responses and toxicity, and it is critical to study these effects. Nanocarriers may have different nature, but polypeptide-based copolymers have attracted considerable attention for their biocompatibility, controlled and slow biodegradability as well as low toxicity. Little has been done regarding specific nanocarriers toxicity. In this study, we performed a thorough toxicological study of two different block copolymer nanoparticles (NPs); poly(trimethylene carbonate)-block-poly(L-glutamic acid) (PTMC- b-PGA) and poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(γ-benzyl-L-glutamate) (PEG-b-PBLG) with sizes between 113 and 131 nm. Low blood-serum-protein interaction was observed. Moreover, general toxicity assays and other endpoints (apoptosis or necrosis) showed good biocompatibility for both NPs. Reactive oxygen species increased in only two cell lines (HepG2 and TK6) in the presence of PTMCb-PGA. Cytokine production study showed cytokine induction only in one cell line (A549). We also performed the same assays on human skin organ culture before and after UVB light treatment, with a moderate toxicity after treatment independent of NPs presence or absence. Interleukin 1 induction was also observed due to the combined effect of PEG-b-PBLG and UVB light irradiation. Future in vivo studies for biocompatibility and toxicity will provide more valuable information, but, so far, the findings presented here suggest the possibility of using these two NPs as nanocarriers for nanomedical applications, always taking into account the application procedure and the way in which they are implemented.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Amphiphilic copolymers
  • Biomedicine
  • Cancer therapy
  • In vitro toxicity
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nanoparticles toxicity


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