In vitro evaluation of copper release from MRI-visible, PLGA-based nanospheres

Iris Sonia Weitz, Or Perlman, Haim Azhari, Sarit Sara Sivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Copper nanostructures offer remarkable therapeutic potential. In particular, copper oxide nanoparticles (CuO NPs) are increasingly studied for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Their anticancer potential, as well as contrast-enhancing capabilities for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound (US), were previously demonstrated. To further exploit their unique multifunctional capabilities, here CuO NPs were successfully embedded in nanocarriers composed of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and poly(ethylene–glycol)-block-poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PEG-PLGA) and their release kinetics were studied. The CuO NPs-loaded nanospheres (NS) were obtained with a loading capacity of 3.6% ± 0.6 and 5.6% ± 0.8 respectively, and the copper in vitro release was analyzed over a period of 36 days. Copper release from PLGA-NS was found to follow a zero-order model, while that from PEG-PLGA-NS was best described by the tri-phasic release profile. The Higuchi model showed a higher correlation value (R2) for PLGA-NS and PEG-PLGA-NS (R2 = 0.994 and R2 = 0.959, respectively), suggesting that the release mechanism of CuO NPs is diffusion-controlled. In addition, CuO NPs, encapsulated within these polymeric nanospheres, retained their visibility, as demonstrated by T1-weighted MRI. Our results provide further insights into the benefit of using CuO NPs-loaded PLGA-based nanospheres as multifunctional nanomaterials, which may be considered as a future theranostic agent for multiple applications including drug delivery and imaging. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)718-730
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


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