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Chitosan-Functionalized Mg0.5Co0.5Fe2O4 Magnetic Nanoparticles Enhance Delivery Of 5-Fluorouracil In Vitro

Sanele Mngadi, Seipati Mokhosi, Moganavelli Singh, Wendy Mdlalose

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Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) have been widely investigated as a strategy to improve the delivery efficiency of therapeutic and diagnostic agents. Substituted iron oxides or ferrite nanoparticles (NPs) such as CoFe2O4 represent an interesting and novel class of MNPs, although they are under-researched in the field of biomedicine. In this study, chitosan-functionalized Mg0.5Co0.5Fe2O4 NPs were loaded with the anti-cancer 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) drug to yield CS-Mg0.5Co0.5Fe2O4-5FU. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Fourier Transform infra-red (FTIR) spectroscopy and nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) were employed to determine the physiochemical properties of the NPs. Physico-chemical characterizations confirmed spherical NPs with particle sizes of approximately 20.39 nm. Improved colloidal stability was observed, as determined by a zeta potential of approximately −20 mV for the drug-loaded CS-Mg0.5Co0.5Fe2O4 NPs. Drug encapsulation efficiencies of >60% were attained, showing a pH-dependent release of 5-FU. Cell viabilities investigated using the 3-[(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide] (MTT) and sulforodhamine B (SRB) assays in human embryonic kidney (HEK293), human breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7) and human cervical cancer (HeLa) cells showed that these drug-loaded NPs exhibited more targeted tumor-specific cytotoxicities compared to free drugs. CS-Mg0.5Co0.5Fe2O4-5-FU NPs displayed significant targeted delivery potential to the investigated cancer cell lines. Conclusively, these results suggest that the CS-Mg0.5Co0.5Fe2O4-5-FU NPs are promising therapeutic delivery systems in anti-cancer treatment.