Nanoencapsulation of sophorolipids in PEGylated poly(lactide-co-glycolide) as a novel approach to target colon carcinoma in the murine model

Yusuf Haggag, Mohamed Elshikh, Mohamed El-Tanani, Ibrahim M Bannat, Paul Mccarron, Murtaza M. Tambuwala

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Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanocapsules containing amphiphilic biosurfactant sophorolipids were formulated using a dispersion-based procedure. Di-block copolymers were used to vary peripheral poly(ethylene glycol) density, and variation in the oil core was used to achieve efficient encapsulation of the sophorolipid payload. Particulate size, zeta potential, encapsulation efficiency, release and stability were characterised. A glyceryl monocaprate core composition had the lowest particulate size, maximum encapsulation efficiency and optimum shelf-life stability compared to other formulations. This core composition was used to deliver sophorolipid to both in vitro and in vivo model tumour cell lines (CT26 murine colon carcinoma) and the effect of peripheral hydrophilicity was evaluated. Formulations with 10% poly(ethylene glycol) density achieved more than 80% reduction in cancer cell viability after 72 h and enhanced cellular uptake in CT26 cells. These formulations exhibited higher tumour accumulation and a longer blood circulation profile when compared to the non-poly(ethylene glycol)-containing nanocapsules. Animals treated with sophorolipid-loaded nanocapsules showed a tumour growth inhibition of 57% when compared to controls. An assessment of tumour mass within the same study cohort showed the biggest reduction when compared control and free drug-treated cohorts. This study shows that hydrophilic poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanocapsules loaded with sophorolipids can address the poor intracellular delivery associated with these biosurfactants and is a promising approach for the treatment of colon neoplasia. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1353-1366
Number of pages14
JournalDrug Delivery and Translational Research
Early online date1 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Oct 2020


  • Biosurfactant
  • CT26 cells
  • Colon cancer
  • Drug delivery
  • Nanocapsule
  • Sophorolipids


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