Indocyanine green-loaded plga nanoparticles conjugated with hyaluronic acid improve target specificity in cervical cancer tumors

Seonmin Choi, San Hui Lee, Sanghyo Park, Sun Hwa Park, Chaewon Park, Jaehong Key

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Indocyanine green (ICG) is a promising agent for intraoperative visualization of tumor tissues and sentinel lymph nodes in early-stage gynecological cancer. However, it has some limitations, including a short half-life and poor solubility in aqueous so-lutions. This study aimed to enhance the efficacy of near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging by overcoming the shortcomings of ICG using a nano-drug delivery system and improve target specificity in cervical cancer. Materials and Methods: ICG and poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) conjugated with polyethylenimine (PEI) were assembled to enhance stability. Hyaluronic acid (HA) was coated on PEI-PLGA-ICG nanoparticles to target CD44-positive cancer cells. The manufactured HA-ICG-PLGA nanoparticles (HINPs) were evaluated in vitro and in vivo on cervical cancer cells (SiHa; CD44+) and human dermal cells (ccd986sk; CD44-), respectively, using NIR imaging to compare intracellular uptake and to quantify the fluorescence intensities of cells and tumors. Results: HINPs were confirmed to have a mean size of 200 nm and a zeta-potential of 33 mV using dynamic light scattering. The stability of the HINPs was confirmed at pH 5.0–8.0. Cytotoxicity assays, intracellular uptake assays, and cervical cancer xenograft models revealed that, compared to free ICG, the HINPs had significantly higher internalization by cervical cancer cells than nor-mal cells (p<0.001) and significantly higher accumulation in tumors (p<0.001) via CD44 receptor-mediated endocytosis. Conclusion: This study demonstrated the successful application of HINPs as nanocarriers for delivering ICG to CD44-positive cervical cancer, with improved efficacy in NIR fluorescence imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1042-1051
Number of pages10
JournalYonsei medical journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Yonsei University College of Medicine 2021.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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