Novel gold nanoparticles coated with somatostatin as a potential delivery system for targeting somatostatin receptors

Targeting of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) like somatostatin-14 (SST-14) could have a potential interest in delivery of anti-cancer agents to tumor cells. Attachment of SST to different nano-carriers e.g. polymeric nanoparticles is limited due to the difficulty of interaction between SST itself and those nano-carriers. Furthermore, the instability problems associated with the final formulation. Attaching of SST to gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) using the positive and negative charge of SST and citrate-AuNPs could be considered a new technique to get stable non-aggregated AuNPs coated with SST. Different analyses techniques have been performed to proof the principle of coating between AuNPs and SST. Furthermore, cellular uptake studies on HCC-1806, HELA and U-87 cell lines has been investigated to show the ability of AuNPs coated SST to enter the cells via SST receptors. Dynamic light scattering (DLS) indicated a successful coating of SST on the MUA-AuNPs surface. Furthermore, all the performed analysis including DLS, SDS-PAGE and UV-VIS absorption spectra indicated a successful coating of AuNPs with SST. Cellular uptake studies on HCC-1806, HELA and U-87 cell lines showed that the number of AuNPs-SST per cell is signiflcantly higher compared to citrate-AuNPs when quantified using inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy. Moreover, the binding of AuNPs-SST to cells can be suppressed by addition of antagonist, indicating that the binding of AuNPs-SST to cells is due to receptor-specific binding. In conclusion, AuNPs could be attached to SST via adsorption to get stable AuNPs coated SST. This new formulation has a potential to target SST receptors localized in many normal and tumor cells.