Self-Assembled Copper–Amino Acid Nanoparticles for in Situ Glutathione “AND” H2O2 Sequentially Triggered Chemodynamic Therapy
Baojin Ma, Shu Wang, Feng Liu, Shan Zhang, Jiazhi Duan, Zhao Li, Ying Kong, Yuanhua Sang , Hong Liu , Wenbo Bu, Linlin Li
Nanoformulations that can respond to the specific tumor microenvironment (TME), such as a weakly acidic pH, low oxygen, and high glutathione (GSH), show promise for killing cancer cells with minimal invasiveness and high specificity. In this study, we demonstrate self-assembled copper–amino acid mercaptide nanoparticles (Cu-Cys NPs) for in situ glutathione-activated and H2O2-reinforced chemodynamic therapy for drug-resistant breast cancer. After endocytosis into tumor cells, the Cu-Cys NPs could first react with local GSH, induce GSH depletion, and reduce Cu2+ to Cu+. Subsequently, the generated Cu+ would react with local H2O2 to generate toxic hydroxyl radicals (·OH) via a Fenton-like reaction, which has a fast reaction rate in the weakly acidic TME, that are responsible for tumor-cell apoptosis. Due to the high GSH and H2O2 concentration in tumor cells, which sequentially triggers the redox reactions, Cu-Cys NPs exhibited relatively high cytotoxicity to cancer cells, whereas normal cells were left alive. The in vivo results also proved that Cu-Cys NPs efficiently inhibited drug-resistant breast cancer without causing obvious systemic toxicity. As a novel copper mercaptide nanoformulation responsive to the TME, these Cu-Cys NPs may have great potential in chemodynamic cancer therapy.