A fluorescence study of the loading and time stability of doxorubicin in sodium cholate/PEO-PPO-PEO triblock copolymer mixed micelles

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Doxorubicin hydrochloride (DX) is one of the most powerful anticancer agents though its clinical use is impaired by severe undesired side effects. DX encapsulation in nanocarrier systems has been introduced as a mean to reduce its toxicity. Micelles of the nonionic triblock copolymers of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) and poly(propylene oxide) (PPO) (PEO-PPO-PEO), are very promising carrier systems. The positive charge of DX confines the drug to the hydrophilic corona region of the micelles. The use of mixed micelles of PEO-PPO-PEO copolymers and a negatively charged bile salt should favour the solubilization of DX in the apolar core region of the micelles.
We studied the DX uptake in the micellar systems formed by sodium cholate (NaC) and the PEO100PPO65PEO100 (F127) copolymer, prepared with different mole ratios (MR = nNaC/nF127) in the range 0 ÷ 1. The systems were characterized by small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and dynamic light scattering (DLS); DX encapsulation was followed by steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy.
The successful solubilization of DX in the host micellar systems did not affect their structure, as evidenced by both SAXS and DLS data. In the presence of NaC, DX experiences a more apolar environment as indicated by its characteristic fluorescent behaviour. The almost complete uptake of the drug occurred shortly after the sample preparation; however, time resolved fluorescence revealed a slow partition of DX between corona and core regions of the micelles. DX degradation in the mixed micellar systems was markedly reduced relative to aqueous DX solutions.


  • Elisamaria Tasca
  • Alessandra Del Giudice
  • Luciano Galantini
  • Anna Maria Giuliani
  • Mauro Guistini
  • Karin Schillén
External organisations
  • University of Bari Aldo Moro
  • University of Palermo
  • Sapienza University of Rome
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-601
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch