A Composite Nanosystem as a Potential Tool for the Local Treatment of Glioblastoma: Chitosan-Coated Solid Lipid Nanoparticles Embedded in Electrospun Nanofibers

Vigani, B., Valentino, C., Sandri, G., Listro, R., Fagiani, F., Collina, S., Lanni, C., Bonferoni, M.C., Caramella, C.M., Rossi, S., Ferrari, F.

(2021) Polymers, 13, ert. no. 1371.

DOI: 10.3390/polym13091371

ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the most prevalent and aggressive brain tumors for which there is currently no cure. A novel composite nanosystem (CN), consisting of chitosan-coated Solid Lipid Nanoparticles (c-SLN) embedded in O-carboxymethyl chitosan (O-CMCS)-containing nanofibers (NFs), was proposed as a potential tool for the local delivery of lipophilic anti-proliferative drugs. Coacervation was selected as a solvent-free method for the preparation of stearic acid (SA) and behenic acid (BA)-based SLN (SA-SLN and BA-SLN respectively). BA-SLN, containing 0.75% w/w BA sodium salt and 3% w/w poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), were selected for the prosecution of the work since they are characterized by the lowest size functional to their subsequent coating and incorporation in nanofibers. BA-SLN were coated with chitosan (CS) by means of a two-step coating method based on the physical absorption of positively charged CS chains on the SLN negative surface. Nile Red (NR), chosen as the hydrophobic model dye, was dissolved in a micellar solution of BA sodium salt and then added with a coacervating solution until pH ≅ 2.5 was reached. Immunocytochemistry analyses highlighted that CS-coated BA-SLN (c-BA-SLN) exhibited a higher accumulation in human glioblastoma cells (U-373) after 6 h than CS-free BA-SLN. Finally, the c-BA-SLN dispersion was blended with a solution consisting of freely soluble polymers (O-CMCS, poly(ethylene oxide) and poloxamer) and then electrospun to obtain NFs with a mean diameter equal to 850 nm. After the NFs dissolution in an aqueous media, c-BA-SLN maintained their physicochemical properties and zeta potential.